Half-Life 3: Newell explains why Valve doesn’t pump out sequels

Monday, 6th January 2014 11:54 GMT By Dave Cook

Half-Life 3 is becoming something of a running joke in the industry now, and while we can titter and guffaw about the matter, Valve founder Gabe Newell has set some records straight in a new interview.

Brenna recently posted an opinion blog about the long wait for Half-Life 3. Check it out and see what you think.

Speaking with the Washington Post, Newell recalled, “When we started out we were a single-player video game company that could have been really successful just doing Half-Life sequel after Half-Life sequel, but we collectively said let’s try to make multiplayer games even though there’s never been a commercial successful multiplayer game.

“Then we tried to do Steam. There were a bunch of people internally who thought Steam was a really bad idea, but what they didn’t think was that they would tell the people who were working on Steam what to do with their time. They were like “that’s what you want to do with your time, that’s fine, but we’re going to spend our time working on Half-Life 2. We think you’re kind of wasting your time, but it’s your time to waste.”

As we know, Steam worked out quite splendidly, but Newell – in less elegant words – explained why a new Half-Life hasn’t happened yet, “So, if somebody becomes the group manager of X, they’re going to really resist it when X is not what you want to do in the next round of games. You don’t want them to sort of burrow into that – you want them to recognize that being really good at Half-Life level design is not as nearly as valued as thinking of how to design social multi-player experiences. You’ve had them feel like they have an organization and title tied up to something when the key is to just continue to follow where the customers are leading.”

That line about customers seems counter to the many baying gamers screaming at Newell and company to make Half-Life 3 a thing you can play. However, Newell made clear that he’s not blind to the wants and needs of the community.

“We definitely in a sense have an army of customers who are always helping us stay honest…,” he concluded. “We’ve essentially crowd-sourced supervision of a lot of these decisions to our customers and it works way better than almost any other system we could design. They’re rabid, they’re passionate, and there are a lot of them.”

Still want Half-Life 3? Speak below.

Via IGN.



  1. dex3108

    It is simple they have waited too long and now they are scared to make HL3. Whatever they do they can’t live up to the hype.

    #1 12 months ago
  2. silkvg247

    I don’t get the hype about HL3 in all honesty. HL2 was mediocre and I’ve never got past HL2 EP1 as it’s just too dull.

    HL1 was great, though.

    #2 12 months ago
  3. sb319

    Personally I couldn’t be less interested in “social multi-player experiences”. It seems for all its customer focus, Valve only listens to a specific portion of its user base.

    As for Half Life, I hardly think it even matters any more. If Valve doesn’t have the passion and interest to at least wrap up the HL2 narrative properly and within a reasonable time frame, then by all means just leave it alone and keep working on DOTA2 and hats for TF2.

    Still, it’d be interesting to see a new Half Life game put through the Steam Greenlight voting process :) Let’s see Newell continue to pretend customers don’t want single player games then.

    #3 12 months ago
  4. karma

    I play single player games, and I know i’m not the only one, so they’re definitely losing out by only catering to the social online crowd. I tried L4D2 which they gave away for free over the holidays but I just didn’t care for it. So it sounds to me like they’re saying that they dont have enough folks over there that love traditional single player experiences to want to make them anymore, and thats why we dont have a HL3. Not that it bothers me, since I thought HL2 was mediocre compared to the original, which was a classic.

    The best thing to come out of Valve since HL1 is Portal, but this was from a smaller team that Valve picked up along the way I believe? I think the traditional games developer at Valve no longer exists.

    Also the social online demographic go hand in hand with Steam. So of course those fans are going to be loyal. If they had gone the HL sequel and single player games route then they would have seen the same loyalty from a different demographic of fans.

    I’d just like to quote a line from GITS to Newell: “Overspecialize, and you breed in weakness. It’s slow death.”

    #4 12 months ago
  5. ps4fanboy

    never played HL, just heard stuff about it.

    #5 12 months ago
  6. TheBlackHole

    So… they’re moving away from single player, story-based games because long-term multiplayer users are more valuable and that’s ultimately where everything is heading.

    Well, fuck it.

    #6 12 months ago
  7. TheBlackHole


    Ep1 was dull. Ep2 is much, much better though.

    #7 12 months ago
  8. absolutezero

    Its more to do with monetisation, think about the amount of hats and keys being sold for dota 2, TF2 and CS:GO.

    How would you tie that revenue stream into a Half Life game?

    Thats what he means by “where the audience is heading” is more like we tried this little experiment and it was such a massive money maker that we can’t even begin to imagine creating a game without those systems.

    No HL3, no new L4D, no Portal.

    The same ethos has even begun seeping into other games though Steam itself, trading cards are such a useless stupid thing and people pay for them. Why bother dumping millions into a game that people will play once and then move on when you exploit the shit out of them instead?

    #8 12 months ago
  9. SplatteredHouse

    No, because in the article it suggests that they view it as a distraction from bigger things. The other thing about that “customers” comment. Does Half Life 3 have a strong customer base? Today. In the make-up of gaming audience that we have. How long are we, now, nearing a decade since 2. It’s folly to do it, now. I think HL is bound to be consigned to history.

    #9 12 months ago
  10. absolutezero

    Theres still a huge fanbase waiting for anything new. I have a feeling they will be severely disappointed.

    Think about the number of false rumours and how they caused the net to explode, the ARGs, Gabe’s Cap last year.

    Now that might be connected directly to the hope of a new game but I also thinks theres a kind of perverse pleasure in seeing an entire ravenous fanbase being toyed with over “lesser properties” that just happen to bring in far more cash.

    HL2 still makes it onto Top Ten all time best game lists, its nearly always near the top of the PC Gamer best 100. Its still a stunning game. The series has inspired so many modders and developers to start creating games of their own, a team of people spent what the better part of 7 years re-building Half Life in the Source engine.

    #10 12 months ago
  11. Harrow

    Erm practically every PC gamer wants HL3 so who exactly is he following. Because if he’s listening to the faddy fucking dota lot he would be dead wrong.

    #11 12 months ago
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    #12 12 months ago
  13. SplatteredHouse

    @10 It’s fuel like that which kept Rare “active” this long.

    #13 12 months ago
  14. Citrus raptor

    Meh, I just don’t care about Half Life’s story.

    Also, if they aren’t interested in developing more, they’re kind of shooting the Half Life they’ve already made, in the foot, as it feels incomplete. No full circle; no point in half of the things that happened. It’s just a bunch of intrigues, excuses for two almost completely different art directions, and some set pieces. At leas finnish it before it sours its fans experience of the franchise as a whole.

    #14 12 months ago
  15. Edo

    Pumping out sequels…right…it would be too soon to release another Half-Life game after that Episode 3 that was released back in 2010….oh wait.

    #15 12 months ago
  16. Hyperx64

    Half-Life 3 is Vapourware.

    #16 12 months ago
  17. sprinkill

    I’ll say this: Gabe Newell has not been ambiguous and cryptic in his statements to the media. Valve clearly has no intention of releasing a Half Life 3. That’s not to say that they won’t sell the rights to another developer, but they clearly have no desire to invest the time and money into its development.

    And while I love the Half Life series and have yearned for a conclusion, I can’t blame them. The fact is that I’m 33 years old, and I played HL1 in high school. Many of those that demand a third installment are probably at or around my age. But we’re not a significant demographic, are we? That is to say, from a cost/benefit standpoint, the benefit derived from sating our demands won’t offset the cost imposed by the development of the third installment.

    Too much time has passed, so the expectations are sky high (see: Duke Nukem: Forever, or whatever it was called…). The amount of artistry and attention to detail demanded by a single player campaign are immense to begin with. Now, however, we have high expectations created by this game of “just the tip” perpetrated by Valve, coupled with the hardware advances that we’ve seen in the past DECADE. The fact is that if Valve produces a Half Life 3, it will be driven by passion, and not profit. Unfortunately, however, Newell’s statements to the media over the years show that he is clearly a businessman and not an artist. There will not be a Half Life 3 produced by Valve.

    #17 11 months ago
  18. TheBlackHole

    “Valve clearly has no intention of releasing a Half Life 3″

    That’s not exactly true, actually.

    #18 11 months ago
  19. kontrastik

    at least we have now the best news in years regarding HL…

    #19 9 months ago
  20. mariogalaxy64100

    well yes they do have multiplayer games that are good but i think more of the people want hl3 even if its singleplayer

    #20 8 months ago
  21. Xzylez

    I am disappointed in Newell. Yes, Gabe has excelled exponentially with Valve and with Steam, and the Gaming Community WORSHIPS him via PC gaming. But Half-Life was a God among games. I am seventeen years of age, and I still remember when I was 6-8 years of age, and watched my Dad play that game. And the day I turned ten and finally played it myself, it lived up to all my aspiring and amazing adolescent expectations. As I grew older, Half-life CONTINUED to be the single best game I have ever played in my life. It will always be on the top of my list, and I’m disappointed that Gabe Newell is reluctant to finish the series. It’s like reading a book out of the library that had it’s last five pages torn out, extremely disappointing.

    #21 7 months ago

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