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Half-Life writer: Episode 3 ‘fanfic’ timing and Artifact not connected

“People are apparently trying to divine some connection”

Half-Life - Alyx Vance, Gordon Freeman Valve

When Half-Life series writer (and ex-Valve staffer) Marc Laidlaw dropped a piece of fiction that read a lot like a possible Half-Life 2: Episode 3 plot over the weekend, it renewed fans’ angst with Half-Life publisher Valve.

Fan forums lit up with theories about why the studio has evidently abandoned Half-Life in the 10 years since it last released an entry in the series. After reading Laidlaw’s “Epistle 3” blog post, many pinned the blame for Half-Life’s demise on other projects, like the upcoming Artifact.

Laidlaw tried to clear things up in a follow-up Twitter thread.

“People are apparently trying to divine some connection between Artifact and the timing of the Epistle,” Laidlaw wrote. “There’s none. Timing of [Epistle] is purely related to my own internal creative process, retirement, wanting to put things aside so I can move forward.”

Valve announced Artifact during the International Dota 2 Championships earlier this month. A collectible card game based on the world of Dota, Artifact is one of Valve’s first new, original games in several years. But as Valve continues to work on projects not called “Half-Life,” fanbase frustrations continue to grow.

Laidlaw referenced this in his follow-up thread. “It was an emotional release, not a tactical one,” he said of his Half-Life post. “Not trying to critique or influence anybody. Valve is family.”

It’s a family Laidlaw left in early 2016. He’s one of several members of the Half-Life development team to have exited the studio in recent months, causing concern that the Half-Life series is effectively dead. Valve hasn’t said that to be the case at any point, but as time passes without any movement on the Gordon Freeman front, it’s no surprise that people have to wonder about the future of the franchise.