Half-Life 2: Episode 3's potential plot posted online by series writer Laidlaw

By this point, most people have given up on the idea that we'll ever see Half-Life 3, the long awaited follow-up to 2007's Half-Life 2: Episode 2, but a new plot posted online by longtime series writer has given us a tantalising glimpse of what its story might have been. 

Writing on Twitter, Marc Laidlaw described the plot outline as "a genderswapped snapshot of a dream I had many years ago" and many details of the plot have been changed.

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For example, Gordon Freeman is referred to as "Gertrude Fremont", Alyx Vance is called "Alex Vaunt" and her father, "Elly Vaunt". Even the title of the plot (or 'fanfic' as Laidlaw refers to it as) has been changed from 'Episode 3' to 'Epistle 3'. 

What could have been

The plot summary is worth reading in its entirety, and its a tantalising glimpse into the direction the game might have taken. 

Unfortunately, it increasingly looks like we might never get to see a third entry in the Half-Life saga. A GameInformer investigation posted at the beginning of 2017 described the challenges of getting projects off the ground at Valve, and this combined with the expectations for Half-Life 3 having reached stratospheric levels has meant that attempts to work on the game have quickly fizzled out. 

It's shame, especially when Half-Life 2 is widely considered to be one of the best games ever made, that a follow-up is unlikely to ever appear. We'll just have to be content to dream about what could have been. 

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Jon Porter

Jon Porter is the ex-Home Technology Writer for TechRadar. He has also previously written for Practical Photoshop, Trusted Reviews, Inside Higher Ed, Al Bawaba, Gizmodo UK, Genetic Literacy Project, Via Satellite, Real Homes and Plant Services Magazine, and you can now find him writing for The Verge.