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Half-Life: 3 poster appears at Gamescom — but not for the one you’d expect

The joke’s on all of us

This is a poster for two gaming sites, not Half-Life 3.

Gamescom 2016 hasn’t even begun yet, but its organizers have already played a pretty cruel joke on attendees: There’s a huge poster along the convention center’s facade that is seemingly advertising Half-Life 3, the Moby Dick of PC games.

A closer look at the banner above, however, quickly proves that the minimalist, Valve-orange ad is not actually for Half-Life 3 at all. Instead, it’s promoting two German gaming websites, Giga Games and Spieletipps, whose staff boast three editors holding the very impressive achievement of having played the original Half-Life upon its release.

That’s what the ad is actually saying; the English translation reads, "Half-Life: 3 editors who played it back then." It’s a troll that we wouldn’t quite call clever, but it’s a funny enough sight to behold amidst neighboring, very legitimate ads for big games like Dishonored 2 and Titanfall 2.

Neither site has commented on the ruse thus far, instead playing it straight with their respective coverage of Gamescom, which kicks off tomorrow and runs until Aug. 21. We’ll update if Spieletipps or Giga Games takes us inside the joke.

Polygon is reporting from the showfloor in Cologne, Germany all this week. Check out our coverage of both Gamescom and GDC Europe, the continent’s biggest game design conference and pre-cursor to its largest gaming convention.

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