Half-Life 2 writer explains controversial decision to publish Episode 3

Half-Life 2 writer explains controversial decision to publish Episode 3
Images via Valve

Written by 

Joseph Kime


3rd Mar 2023 14:34

Though the thought of a brand-new entry in the Half-Life narrative feels like a pipe dream at this point, there was once a time when the idea wasn't so far-fetched.

Before we knew about Valve's sheer terror in the face of the number three, fans were desperate for a new look at the world that Gordon Freeman inhabits. A fully-fledged sequel would demand the perfect story to justify it, and many have theorised that the company will never reach such a state.

But, the episodic follow-ups that came after Half-Life 2 helped to heal the absence of the mainline game - even if it screeched to a halt before it could reach that terrifying No.3.

Well, it screeched to a halt at Valve, while one of its writers elected to leak its story online. And now, they have spoken out about that decision.

Half-Life 2 Episode 3's leaker calls his actions 'deranged'

Half-Life 2 writer explains controversial decision to publish episode 3
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One of Half-Life 2: Episode 3's writers leaked Half-Life 2: Episode 3 online and under the moniker of 'Epistle 3' in 2017. Fans quickly caught on that it was the narrative of the now-cancelled game, and now, he has spoken out about his controversial decision.

"I was living on an island, totally cut off from my friends and creative community of the last couple decades, I was completely out of touch and had nobody to talk me out of it," says Marc Laidlaw to Rock Paper Shotgun. "It just seemed like a fun thing to do… until I did it."

He goes on to call the decision "deranged," clearly showing some kind of remorse for leaking the story of the game, even though the title never came to light.

Laidlaw - leaking Episode 3 made my friends' lives harder

Laidlaw has suggested that the leaking of the game made his personal life more difficult, as the outcry for more details reached his friends. "I think it caused trouble for my friends, and made their lives harder," he added.

"It also created the impression that if there had been an Episode 3, it would have been anything like my outline, whereas in fact all the real story development can only happen in the crucible of developing the game. So what people got wasn't Episode 3 at all."

It was a fascinating moment in time to be paying attention to Valve, and it looks like Episode 3 will never materialise at all. Then again, Valve has proved us wrong before and we're more than willing for it to surprise us.

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