Last week a writer for Half-Life, Marc Laidlaw, published "Epistle 3", a blog post that was clearly meant to serve as a synopsis for the long-awaited Half-Life Episode 3. Even if the blog post changed the names of the main characters. Since then, Laidlaw's blog post has caused some fallout, including renewed interest in Half-Life 3 and users bombing Steam with negative reviews for Dota 2. All the while, Laidlaw maintains that there is no hidden agenda to his blog post other than to satisfy a creative itch.
"It was an emotional release, not a tactical one," wrote Laidlaw in a follow-up tweet. "Not trying to critique or influence anybody. Valve is family."
Laidlaw wrote the statement to clarify that his "Epistle 3" blog post wasn't meant to criticize any recent Valve projects, particularly Artifact, a card game based on Dota 2 and Valve's first original game project in some time. When Artifact was announced at the International Dota 2 Championships this month, the crowd let out an audible groan when Half-Life Episode 3 failed to make an appearance. Clearly that fan anticipation for Half Life 3 hasn't waned.
However, as noted by PCGamesN, Steam users have been flooding Steam's Dota 2 page with negative reviews as a kind of revenge for Half-Life 3. "Not only is tis game a miserable bore, it killed Valve's creativity and eliminated any need to finish the Half-Life series. Thanks Gabe!" wrote one reviewer.
Half Life 3 was supposed to be the next episode in the Half-Life 2 story. Originally intended to come out a year after the release of Half-Life 2 Episode 2, Valve's plans changed and the project was caught in development hell. Valve has not said the game has been cancelled, though as our timeline of the game shows, the company has been more and more reticent to talk about the game in the past couple years.
So Laidlaw's "fanfiction" (as he calls it) is basically the closest fans have gotten to Half Life 3, even if Laidlaw maintains that it's not meant to be taken too seriously.