Mobile device maker HTC has learned an important lesson about its new partner, Valve: One does not casually toss around the words "Half-Life."
HTC's chairwoman, Cher Wang, uttered the name of the series — whose anticipation for a sequel has become one of video gaming's longest-running memes — in an interview with the BBC yesterday. She was discussing Valve's big gaming hits and suggested they would all be playable on the Vive, the VR headset HTC is making with Valve.
"I think Valve's best game is Dota, right, and Portal and [Team Fortress], and I think they are very keen to have them [on Vive]," she said.
And then ...
"We are co-operating with Half-Life, and I think ... I hope, you know, it will be on it," she said.
Any person in executive power speaking those words gets bells ringing for gamers. Half-Life is one of Valve's most popular franchises even though its last entry, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, launched almost eight years ago. Its popularity is partly why gamers assume that Half-Life 3, or Half-Life 2: Episode 3, or some other sequel, must be in the works, though Valve has never said it is.
A joking numerology still has sprouted among fans, who take mundane details about Valve activities or statements and manipulate them into hints of a confirmed Half-Life 3. So the chairwoman of the board of a major partner saying the game's name perked up ears in a way that playing Team Fortress 2 in virtual reality would not.
The BBC followed up with Valve, which said it had no Half-Life virtual reality game in the works. Today, Wang herself released a statement apologizing for her remarks.
"I would like to apologize for any confusion caused when I referred to individual games titles," Wang said. "In response to a question on specific games, I misspoke when I referred to our working together with Valve on a particular game, when instead I meant our collaboration with Valve on developing next-generation virtual reality experiences for gaming."
Valve and HTC are expected to show off more of their virtual reality collaboration at GDC 2015.