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back to article Half-Life 3: CONFIRMED?

Valve has filed for a trademark for Half-Life 3, the successor to its phenomenally successful computer game franchise. The application was filed with OHIM – the trade marks and designs registration office of the European union – on the 29th of September and was surfaced by the NeoGAF gaming forum. The last installment of the …

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Trollface

They'll only find out

that Apple already trademarked it in the USA. So you can't have it. Because, you know, on a mobile device.

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Trollface

Re: They'll only find out

Or that the shape of the number 3 looks too similar to the Apple logo, and that it has rounded edges...

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I've been saying for donkeys that HL3 is the obvious exclusive to pull people onto SteamBox (and possibly even Linux by extension - wouldn't that be interesting?). Remains to be seen how bold Valve decide to be with this.

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Valve has a tremendous amount of positive mindshare among PC gamers, and they've built that up over the course of years. I expect they recognize that strong-arming customers into doing or buying something many of them may not want is the most efficient way to destroy that mindshare.

Based on the wording of last week's announcements, I don't expect them to be that foolish. HL3 only needs to be *compatible* with Linux to spur support for SteamOS, it doesn't need to be a SteamOS exclusive of any kind. Valve seems to be focused on keeping the PC as a platform; SteamOS intends to simply make extending that platform to the living room easy enough to step on the toes of the big console makers.

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It would be very "un-Valve-like" to make Half Life 3 an exclusive to Steam OS. In recent years, they've been pushing to make the Steam experience work smoothly across multiple platforms, so it seems highly unlikely that they would backtrack on that in an attempt to push the platform. And when it comes down to it, the SteamBox isn't even like a traditional console in that it's mainly just a free operating system and specifications for hardware manufacturers and end-users to put together their own systems with. Valve's profit comes from people using the Steam service to make purchases on these platforms, no matter which platform they decide to use. Of course, users of a system with a Steam-centric operating system will be more likely to purchase games and other content through Steam than through competing digital distribution services, so it is in Valve's best interest to get people using the platform. However, one of the big selling points of the platform is cross-platform compatibility with people's existing systems. Valve isn't expecting PC gamers to give up gaming on Windows anytime soon, as a large part of the Steam catalog is only available on Windows.

At most Valve might give early access to the game on Steam OS, allowing users of the operating system get their hands on it a day or so ahead of other users. I could also see Valve holding off a bit more on releasing the game for other consoles. Making it a launch title for Steam OS also seems likely, though there will no doubt be beta-test releases of the OS well before the release of Half-Life 3.

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The only game I ever finished.

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Anonymous Coward

You've finished half-life 3?

Whatever you do don't spoil the ending for the rest of us.

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HL3? What's the point?

If HL3 is like HL2 or the mini adventures, then what's the point? It's a long set sequence of shootemups. You can't turn right, you can't turn left, and it's practically an interactive movie, but your only dialogue is gun fire.

Too boring.

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Re: HL3? What's the point?

HL2 was OK, not too horribly linear or too horribly lead-by-the-nose-between-set-pieces, but Episode 2... That truly stunk. I couldn't stand having annoying NPC's shouting orders at me the whole time (and if I didn't carry out their orders fast enough, they'd do it themselves).

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@ Brian Miller

I thought that Half-Life 2 Episode 2 at times lapsed into unintentional self-parody.

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Re: HL3? What's the point?

In fairness, you've got to compare it to other shooters at the time, and on that basis I think it holds up well.

I've been hoping that valve would have HL3 be their opener on Steam OS, my main concern is that if it does actually turn up it's never going to satisfy all of the pent up expectation that's been generated over the last 5 or 6 years.

Then again perhaps Newell is messing with our heads. Because he can.

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Re: HL3? What's the point?

If HL3 is like HL2 or the mini adventures, then what's the point? It's a long set sequence of shootemups.

You mean Half Life is *gasp* an FPS game? Who knew??

You can't turn right, you can't turn left, and it's practically an interactive movie, but your only dialogue is gun fire.

So it's an FPS game with a good story? You know, just because it's linear doesn't make it bad.

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Re: HL3? What's the point?

But after playing the Fallout series, I definitely don't want to bother with Halflife again! Fallout is a FPS, but it doesn't box in the player. If I want to leave the vault and never enter Megaton, I can do that. I can blow up Megaton, and then shoot Alistair Tenpenny in the head and leave Three Dog wondering whodunnit, because nobody benefited from Megaton being destroyed. There is far more leeway in the Bethesda titles than the Valve titles. I like that. I'd just like to see interaction with NPCs better than scripted choices.

So why is it that AI hasn't given us anything better than Eliza? That was written in 1966. And all we have are scripts in these games?? YECH!!

I'd like to have fun in these like being some kind of post-apocalypse builder. Create communities, recruit the right kinds of people, stuff like that. More interaction!

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Re: HL3? What's the point?

Fallout is a FPS

...........................................No it isn't. Also, it came out quite a while after HL2.

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Re: HL3? What's the point?

Fallout 3 is an RPG with first person viewpoint. It's not an FPS. Under your definition you could call Skyrim an FPS with bows instead of guns.

I don't expect HL3 to be as linear as it's predecessors but it's worth pointing out that such linearity was the norm for their contemporaries. It doesn't seem fair to compare HL2 to a game that was released half a decade later.

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Re: HL3? What's the point?

Fallout is an RPG?? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Hoooyaaaah, that's a good one! Sorry, no. An RPG is a good game of Tunnels and Trolls or Dungeons and Dragons. (Fact is, a bad game of T&T is still better than what's on the computers!) Yeah, real RPG is where a PERSON runs the game. Paper and dice, baby! Dig it! Then you can have the "Tunnels and Thompsons" games and lay a full magazine of AK-47 goodness on a vampire. Doesn't kill them, but boy does it slow them down! Roll those hungry dice! Got an ogre problem? Well, I have an O.G.R.E., too! Play time!

No, Fallout is a FPS with some scripts. When I can converse with the NPCs and really play a role, then it's a role-playing game. I want something that can be dynamically modified by my actions, not run a more complex version of a rat maze. HL and Doom were maze games with shooting. Fallout was a meta-maze with some scripts. 'Scuse me for having played with paper, dice, and people.

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Re: HL3? What's the point?

Oh $deity... a role-playing snob in the flesh.

I guess you never played the original Fallout games then? You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who wouldn't describe them as RPGs. They may not use paper, dice or have dungeon master but that's what they are. All Fallout 3 did was add a first person perspective.

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Re: HL3? What's the point?

No, Fallout is a FPS with some scripts.

-SNIP-

OK, well then while you're being a tabletop snob and bragging about your ability to roll dice, why don't you check out the earlier Fallout games, which are isometric, and undeniably RPGs. If you're just going to turn your nose up at what video games have to offer, then go back to the tabletop where we don't have to put up with you. Either way, no-one who actually knows thing 1 about video games is going to class Fallout as an FPS.

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Re: HL3? What's the point?

Sorry Brian, Fallout 3 is an RPG with a first-person view. There is no argument here.

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Joke

Re: HL3? What's the point?

<UltraRPGSnobMode>

But Brian uses dice. He's a Roll-Player, not a Role-Player.

</UltraRPGSnobMode>

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Re: HL3? What's the point?

Pah ! I decry your dice-and-paper role playing.....LARP is where it's at !

Wonder if you can outrun the enemy ? Better hope you actually can.

Spot the hiding scout ? Depends on your actual eyes....

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Happy

Re: HL3? What's the point?

You have described every game on a console in existence. They are afterall just a long set sequence in a fixed area. (Unless a US console game where it tends to be shorter sequences because attention spans are pants in the US) Just look at 'gears of war', 'Halo' etc.

HL2 introduced physics and the level of detail and graphics capability took a step forward. It had a plot, it left more unanswered questions than it answered which is why they had episodes and even they left you wanting to have a final step. Hence the desire by players to get HL3 to explain just what the satellite was and who the administrator is? Is the evil scientist going to double cross them again, what is this boat all about?

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Re: HL3? What's the point?

It's good to talk.

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Re: HL3? What's the point?

"Sorry Brian, Fallout 3 is an RPG with a first-person view. There is no argument here."

"Fallout 3 is an RPG with a first-person view. There is no argument here."

There was an awful lot of argument when it came out, with fans of the earlier games particularly inclined to denigrate it as 'merely' a shooter.

There's an awful lot of bickering and very little definition of terms here - what is it that could possibly make a game played in the first person and primarily based around shooting something other than a FPS?

If the key is that the control of accuracy should be solely down to the attributes of the player rather than the attributes of the player character then Fallout 3 is not an FPS, is that the reasoning here?

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Re: HL3? What's the point?

"In fairness, you've got to compare it to other shooters at the time, and on that basis I think it holds up well." -Steve Crook

This is exactly what people need to keep in mind. Half-Life 2 came out nearly NINE years ago at this point, and had spent around five years in development prior to that, so of course parts of it are going to look dated by today's standards. When it came out though, it was a lot more open and interactive than most other shooters. Sure, the level layouts were rather linear, but Valve provided lots of interesting things to play with within those environments to give players unique ways to approach situations.

One of Half-Life 2's biggest selling points was the relatively large number of physics objects within the world, and your ability to interact with them using the gravity gun, explosives, and so on. Previously, furniture and other clutter within games was mostly static, while in Half-life 2 it made for a dynamic source of cover, obstacles and improvised weapons. The game also brought interesting drivable vehicle segments into its gameplay, which was relatively rare among shooters at the time. And then there were friendly NPCs tied into the actual gameplay, which was something else that was pretty much unheard of in shooters. Sure, they lacked any sort of advanced AI or anything, but they were much better than anything else seen in comparable games at the time.

Another thing the game did well was that it made the most of its linearity to provide a highly "cinematic" experience, more so than any other games I can think of from the time, expanding on what the original Half-Life had done before it. Since then, many other games have done the same, and it's become something of the norm, but this was rather innovative at the time.

"But after playing the Fallout series, I definitely don't want to bother with Halflife again!" -Brian Miller

Aside from the obvious fact that Fallout 3 came out four years after Half-Life 2, they're arguably not even in the same genre. As has been said, Fallout 3 is more an RPG (or rather CRPG, if you want to get technical), where the focus is much more on placing people in a sandbox environment and letting them do what they want, than on providing a cohesive story with careful pacing. Sandbox-style games can be great, but that doesn't mean there's no room for games that tell stories in a more controlled fashion. Both provide different kinds of experiences.

I suspect Half-Life 3 will contain more open environments, but will continue to be much more linear than something like Fallout. Fans of the Half-Life series aren't looking for such an open, non-story-centric experience where you could spend dozens of hours crafting thimbles and taking quests from locals, instead of saving the world or whatever it is Gordon Freeman is doing. That kind of gameplay simply doesn't fit what most people want from a Half-Life experience. I do think Half-Life 3 will again try to be best in its class at various aspects of gameplay though, but it's difficult to tell what those might be at this point.

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Re: HL3? What's the point?

You should probably have used the STALKER series as example instead. Because you did have a good point, but not a good example. I too prefer open-world to on-the-rails.

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Calling it now:

Steambox exclusive.

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Re: Calling it now:

Too late - have a look for my posts in the steambox threads, I called it back then. And every second person who has posted about SteamOS since it's official unveiling. ;-)

But lets be honest - they'd be stupid not to - even if it was just that the SteamOS version featured certain extras that didn't strictly affect gameplay (stuff utilising the Steam gamepad display, perhaps bundle the Source 2 equiv of whatever they use to make HL2 machinima with it, the entire Source back catalogue, etc) against the Windows version.

Hell, if they said it was fully optimised for OpenGL on Linux with 20% better average framerates and 25% better minimum frames rate (or similar useful jumps in performance) that'd be enough to cause an uptake, even if it was released simultaneously on Windows - because the SteamOS version wouldn't necessarily require a hardware upgrade to get better performance as opposed to on Windows on the same hardware, yadda yadda.

There are dozens of ways to play it.

Anyway, as noted elsewhere, all this means is that they have to release it at some point in the next five years to protect the trademark. Although I read elsewhere that HL1 was released within a year of it's trademark application, so here's hoping for a feel-good hit of the summer, guys....

Steven R

PS: Yeah, I know I've been banging on about this over the other article comment threads etc, but I've been poking and prodding Steam on Linux since it was an open Beta and so I've got a vested interest in this being *good* and causing an uptick in Linux game development. Blizzard are pretty down with doing Linux stuff if it's demanded, there were job applications for a Mac engineer to help work on Frostbite 2 (Frostbite 3 is going to run most of EAs non-sports titles - it's not too silly to think that might have an effect on Linux too) a while back so it's all looking pretty cool from my point of view...

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Re: Calling it now:

I very much doubt Valve will shun Windows PC gamers with a Steambox (and by extension, Linux) exclusive. They'd only end up angering their core market.

What I think we might end up with is a situation where the Steambox is, for a few months at least, the only console that has HL3.

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Re: Calling it now:

Before I am downvoted off of the planet please at least consider my point.

All of the gains that Valve claims the Linux version will give, such as the increase in frame rates, will most likely be wasted and therefore quite pointless. They are with my current monitor so moving to a TV which is not as responsive or capable seems and even bigger waste. Why push for 120fps on a TV that can only manage 30fps (60fps interleaved)? I know some people will will have the latest spec of tv, but not everyone and when pushing for presence in the living room they need to find a better way of selling it.

Just consider both PS4 and Xbox One are crowing about running 60fps @ 1080p

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@Eradicate all BB entrants (Re: Calling it now:)

For many of us, fps beyond 60 (or even 30) is of little or no concern. What interests us is things like

- rendering to full screen resolution

- high resolution textures

- models with more polygons

- anisotropic filtering

- antialiasing

- view distance

- field of view

- number of simultaneous NPCs on the screen

- etc.

If Valve can improve these things with their Linux version, then most people will notice a significant difference.

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Re: Calling it now:

Why push for 120fps on a TV that can only manage 30fps (60fps interleaved)?

If 120fps is your peak, then your game is very unlikely to visibly lag when the more stressful sections come up. It's amused me for years to hear console manufacturers brag about maintaining a "solid 30fps" in their games.

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Trollface

HL3 trolling

And the best part of HL3 is a new engine to be used for Counterstrike in the future.

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HL was great, HL2 was

HL2 did the usual sequelitis thing. Make it 'dark'with some confused Eastern European oppressive regime thing. Add some driving bits. And not much else. Just like the latest Die Hard really.

3 needs to be something special or they shouldn't bother.

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Re: HL was great, HL2 was

HL2 did the usual sequelitis thing. Make it 'dark'with some confused Eastern European oppressive regime thing.

Because the events of Black Mesa were such a ray of sunshine. That's the game with the alien mind-control invasion and the marine death squads, right?

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Re: HL was great, HL2 was

You've forgot "We don't go to Ravenholm any more"?

That was my favorite level. Not quite as creepy as Shalebridge Cradle in Thief, but close.

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Re: HL was great, HL2 was

Ravenholme was the worst, most tedious, predictable "woooo scary - look! look! scampering things you are now scared" lazy crap.

HL kept me curious about what was going to happen next.

By the time I'd finished HL2 and epsiode 2 I was thoroughly bored of the whole thing.

Because it was boring.

Even if Valve aren't going to go for some sort of sandbox/open world environment, they need to improve their plots and they need to lay off the heavily scripted set pieces.

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Anonymous Coward

One reason they might not have filed in the United States is there are a number of deadlines you must meet or you risk losing the trademark. For example, one must file a declaration of use within 6 months of filing for the trademark. This means one must show some way the mark has been used in commerce. So I'd say the U.S. filing would be more telling, because it would mean they planned on using it in commerce within 6 months. The only reason I can think of them not doing it now is they are not going to use it in commerce within 6 months.

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They're waiting for you Gordon... In the test chamber...

.. for eight fucking years, Gordon..

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Thumb Up

HL3

Bring it!

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I am both nervous and excited.

Excited because, well, it's about BLOODY time we get to see what happened. HL2: Ep2 ended on a high note that panned back to be revealed as the result of Gabe Newell swinging a sledgehammer into the player's bollocks... And I've been waiting literally half of my adult life to see the bit where Gordon straps on his grabbity gun, Alyx upgrades to a shotgun full-time, and they go to get a few thousand tons of payback for Eli.

Nervous because, well... There is the SLIM chance that Valve might take leave of their senses and try some stupid SteamOS Exclusive nonsense. I don't want to take HL3 into my living room. My living room is full of dog hair and other people who will want to use the television during the several straight days I will be superglued to the screen when HL3 finally drops. Also, I don't want to buy another bloody console, I rather prefer my keyboard and mouse.

On a related note, I hope they go back to the way HL2: Episode 1 handled Alyx. She was there all the time (unlike in HL2 proper,) and it was rather nice, I thought, to constantly have an AI companion that I didn't have to babysit because they were more than capable of holding their own, but while she would state things, she wouldn't nag about them. They were, in fact, very explicit in their commentary about why they weren't having Alyx nag, so why they made her nag in HL2:Ep2 makes me wonder if someone hit their head on a wall or something. Ideally, they'll give the player Alyx AND a Vortigaunt (seriously, the vortigaunt buddy bits of Ep2 were really cool,) and more control over them (such as giving Alyx specific weapons and sharing ammo with her,) and use that as an excuse to REALLY ratchet up the intensity.

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Re: I am both nervous and excited.

I can't imagine that SteamOS won't properly support kb/mouse input for gaming, or that you wouldn't get equivalent functionality installing Steam onto Ubuntu without ever leaving the office.

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Re: I am both nervous and excited.

I can allay some of these fears. SteamBox INCLUDES the Windows platform. What do you think Big Picture mode is all about? :)

So the keyboard and mouse is here to stay.

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Re: I am both nervous and excited.

> . I don't want to take HL3 into my living room.

You don't have to. What's stopping you from just dual-booting both SteamOS and whatever OS you currently use on your PC? Heck, I presume that it'll be possible to even install SteamOS onto a USB flash drive and boot from there whenever you want to play HL3, and reboot into the local hard disk when you're done(*1).

(*1) Slow as molasses tho, and not all PCs can boot from the USB3 port. Best bet is installing a second hard disk in the PC and selecting the hard disk from the boot device menu if you need to use it.

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Re: I am both nervous and excited.

Oddly enough, one of the things I like the best about PC gaming is that I DON'T have to reboot my PC all the time. I boot it up, do a bit of work, browse the web, listen to music, play a game, alt-tab to Firefox to check the football results, alt-tab back to the game, eventually save and quit, maybe fire up another game for a quick blast, quit, then browse the web for another 15 minutes before going to bed.

If I've got to reboot back and forth between two different OSs to play different games, we'll have moved a huge step backwards.

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It's happening!

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G man

My favourite character has always been the G man. Even with the swift and brutal change of story from HL1-HL2 he remained a constant. He has reason, he has purpose, he has knowledge and he has power. None of which he gives up to his lapdog Mr Freeman. The relationship between the freeman and the entity pulling his strings has kept me interested in the story just as the fantastic game play kept me interested in blowing away aliens and combine troops.

I keep hoping for answers. What has the 'aperture science' sunken wreck got that is so important? Why the warning from the G man? How bashed up is Judith?

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Re: G man

My biggest worry about HL3 is that they have set up too many questions for one game to reasonably answer; your questions above barely scratch the surface. What did Eli know about our 'mutual friend'? Did Breen escape to a 'host body'? Can G-Man be trusted?

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Trollface

And I thought Valve's plan for HL2:Ep3/HL3 was to take the crown from Duke Nukem....

People are seriously thinking it might be released before 2023?

On a more serious note, even if HL3 is a SteamOS/SteamBox exclusive for a period of time, most of my Steam games are on Windows only. I can't see the upside of a local 'OnLive' for LAN streaming from my own Windows PC which I'll need to keep switched on as well. My Windows PC will still be the weakest link and need upgrading as well as the SteamBox.

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