It’s been almost nine years since Half-Life 2, the sequel to what is widely acknowledged as one of the best games of all time, was first released. Two follow-up titles – HL2: Episodes One and Two – were released in 2006 and 2007 respectively, but fans eager to follow the next chapter in the story of the series’ intrepid but silent hero have been left hanging.
At long last, it looks like that wait may soon be coming to an end. On September 29, Valve – the games’ developers – filed a trademark for ‘Half-Life 3’, fuelling speculation that a new instalment in the series will soon be revealed.
The filing was discovered by a member on NeoGAF’s forums, and can be verified on the website of the Trade Marks and Designs Registration Office of the European Union (Trade Mark No. 012180394). Adding more fuel to the fire is the discovery that, in July, Valve also filed a European trademark for the iconic Half-Life lambda symbol:
Also, Valve randomly filed a European trademark for the Half-Life symbol in July. pic.twitter.com/O6yi0rtUTP— superannuation (@supererogatory) October 1, 2013
The timing of this latter filing would seem significant – despite the Half-Life series being almost fifteen years old, Valve had never trademarked the symbol in Europe until three months ago. Combined with this week’s trademark filing for the Half-Life 3 name, it’s certainly tempting to draw the conclusion that a new game is on the way.
The evidence pointing towards the game being in development goes beyond just trademark filings, though. VG247 picked up reports that Valve's User Picker - software that permits access to Valve's internal staff database - had become publicly available, possibly as the result of a bug. While access has since been removed, unknown numbers of users were able to access the database; Gematsu grabbed screenshots showing two Half-Life 3 development teams, including names of 56 staff working within those groups.
If the game does indeed materialise, one interesting possibility is worth considering. Steam – owned by Valve – recently announced its own Linux-based operating system, SteamOS, as a platform for gaming and media. Could Half-Life 3 be a SteamOS exclusive?
That question, like so many others, remains unanswered for now. But like you, we can’t wait to find out.