Half-Life was developed and released by Valve Software in 1998 and was created using a heavily
modified version of the Quake engine called GoldSrc. Both Stephen King's The Mist and
the video game Doom served as early inspirations for the game. At the time Valve felt that
video games could be so much more than simplistic shoot 'em up titles and hoped to build a world
full of interesting characters with a compelling storyline. The name Half-Life is a scientific
term used to determine the time required for any specified property to decrease by half.
To simplify, it's a term most commonly used in the context of nuclear physics and nuclear
chemistry. So in that regard, it makes sense as it's very evocative of the game's scientific
theme. Another reason is that the Half-life equation uses a Greek symbol called Lambda
which has since become a very prominent logo for the game. And it might sound familiar
as the Black Mesa Research Facility in Half-Life has a sector called the Lambda Complex. The
game was planned to be released sometime in late 1997, but at the last minute they felt
the game wasn't good enough. So Valve actually remade the entire game and in doing so, delayed
it by almost a year. In November of 1998, the game was finally released. Spawning several
expansion packs and sequels. None of which would ever have a 3 in the title.
The German version of the first Half-Life has some pretty ridiculous changes and censorship.
For example, when you shoot someone or something, there's no blood whatsoever. Which is kinda
strange given how there's still blood everywhere else. When you kill an ally, they don't die.
That's right, people don't die if they are killed. Instead, they choose the much more
realistic approach of sitting down while shaking their heads in disappointment at you.
But the most odd difference is that all marines are replaced with robots.
A common phrase spoken by the guards in the first Half-Life is...
When you meet Barney Calhoun in Half-Life 2, who happens to be an ex-guard
from Black Mesa, one of the first things he says is...
Speaking of Barney. Even though he's supposed to be
the protagonist in the expansion Half-Life: Blue Shift, the character model for Gordon Freeman
is still used. Funnily enough, there goes the real Gordon Freeman.
This is the original character model for Gordon Freeman. However, at the time, he wasn't know
by that name. Instead employees at Valve simply called him Ivan the Space Biker. The actual
Gordon Freeman came much later and would go through several versions including different
glasses, different suites, and different hairstyles. Speaking of hairstyles, did you know that
Gordon Freeman has a pony tail? Well, at least he did in the first game. This is also why
it looked like he had a backslick on the title screen of the game. But in Half-Life 2 and
all subsequent art for the game, the ponytail is gone.
So if you ever thought the Gonarch from Half-Life looked like a giant spider with an giant testicle,
you're exactly right. The idea for the Gonarch supposedly came to be when someone at Valve said:
"Why don't we put a giant testicle on a 20-foot-tall armored spider?". Given this,
the name might actually be a combination of the words gonad and monarch. You see gonad
is another word for the reproductive organs and monarch would refer to the creature's
boss status within the game.
In Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Dr Magnusson makes a remark about
something Gordon did back at Black Mesa.
He's actually referring to a moment in the first game when the player in able to tamper with a microwave.
I mean I got a give it to the guy, he has his priorities straight. The world is crumbling down
before his eyes, but ain't nobody getting away when fucking with his food.
While you might still be waiting for a new Half-Life game, Japan got their very own back
in 2006. It's called Half-Life 2: Survivor and is an arcade game based on Half-Life 2.
The game was met with mostly positive reviews all around but unfortunately for the rest
of the world, it's only available in Japan.
While Half-Life 2: Episode 3 has been confirmed to be in development several times over the
past decade. Valve, as we all know, refuse to reveal any specifics whatsoever. In fact
back in 2006, the episodic trilogy was to be concluded by Christmas 2007. But we all
know that never happened. This has been going on for so long that rumors, leaked information,
and vague statements indicates that Valve has decided to put their episodic efforts
on hold and instead focus development on a sequel, Half-Life 3. But of course, no one
really knows. What we do know is that between 2006-2007, Half-Life 2: Episode 4 was already
being developed outside of Valve by Arkane Studios. The developers behind Dishonored.
It carried the working title of Return to Ravenholm and would've been a stand alone
episode taking place before the end of Episode 2, of course in the zombie infested town of
Ravenholm. In the end, Valve felt that the market was oversaturated with zombie related
titles and canceled the game before any serious development could begin.
G-Man. Who is he? What does he want? Why is he sometimes helping you and other times hindering
you? Many theories exist and very little is know. In fact, we don't even know his name.
If he has one.
Valve has never given him an official title and G-Man is simply short for Government Man.
The reason he was created in the first place was because Valve wanted a character that
was neither an ally nor enemy to the player, leading to his enigmatic behavior.
The story behind the Half-Life series is never fully explained within the games. You get
bits and pieces of the puzzle every now and then, yet many mysteries remain unexplained.
So this is the story of Half-Life so far. It begins with the Combine Empire. A powerful
intergalactic organization composed of a massive verity of both allied and enslaved species.
At some point before the events of Half-Life, the Combine invade the homeworld of the Vortigaunts.
This forced them to escape to the border world Xen. Xen is a sort of subway station that
can be used to cross dimensions. But their escape was short lived as they now became
enslaved by Xen's ruler Nihilanth. Back on Earth, scientists at Black Mesa are experimenting
with teleportation technology. This eventually leads up the the Resonance Cascade or The
Black Mesa Incident, secretly orchestrated by the mysterious G-Man. This event forms
a portal between Black Mesa and Xen. Nihilanth viewed the portal as a liberation from the
Combine and decided to invade the Earth using his minions and the enslaved Vortigaunts.
A certain scientist in an orange suit manages to fight off the alien invaders and eventually
end up defeating Nihilanth at the end of Half-Life. G-Man is impressed by this and gives you an
ultimatum, work form him or die. G-Man then puts Freeman in some sort of suspended animation
to call upon when needed at a later time. Meanwhile, portals between the Earth and Xen
is now forming everywhere and alien creatures continues to flood the planet. Ever since
the event, the Combine has kept a close eye on Earth and finally decide it's time to make
their move. The Combine invasion begins. Earth's population is reduced even further and the
Vortigaunts, wanting revenge on the Combine, team up with the remaining rebel forces. In
fact, the Vortigaunts now see Gordon Freeman as a sort of messiah after he freed them from
Nihilanth. The Combine Empire continue their reign of fear and slowly turns humanity into
a slave race. Around 20 years after the events of Half-Life, Freeman is awaken by G-Man and
the events of Half-Life 2 begin to unfold. Freeman starts a revolution which leads to
the downfall of the Citadel in City 17. As a last resort, the Combine destroy City 17
to create a super portal and call for reinforcements. Eventually the resistance destroys the portal
and we are now all eagerly waiting for Episode 3, or a third something.
Surely, Valve will deliver.
You forgot your melons magnusson.