Everybody had it marked in their calendars. Go back to yours, you’ll have done it too – a big, red marker pen circle encompassing all 12 months of 2007, and a lambda symbol above it. “Half-Life 2 Episode 3 probably releasing here, remember to play”, you’ll have written below it in the excited scrawl of a child adding a Super Soaker to their Christmas list.
But like that water-based weapon, which you fondly imagined tearing through at least one dermal layer as you put yourself to bed on Christmas eve, it never did arrive, did it? Valve didn’t even have the decency to fob us off with a book and some chocolates, they just let the year conclude without a damn thing happening. And the next one. And the subsequent 13 after that.
In those intervening years, we’ve at least been able to piece together what its developers had planned for Half Life 2 Episode 3. In 2017, long-time series writer Marc Laidlaw cunningly imparted its plot under the guise of fanfic, giving fans the resolution Valve never offered.