It's been 14 years since Half-Life 2 first came out, and ever since then the countdown for Half-Life 3 began ticking, and ticking, and ticking. Yet Half-Life 3 still has yet to materialize, and players are still holding their breath. But the project suffered a setback when the original writer for the series, Marc Laidlaw, left Valve back in 2016 to retire. Today, Laidlaw published a blog post titled "Epistle 3" and it reads like the next chapter of the Half-Life story, just with the main characters' names changed ever so slightly.
I hope this letter finds you well. I can hear your complaint already, "Gertie Fremont, we have not heard from you in ages!" Well, if you care to hear excuses, I have plenty, the greatest of them being I've been in other dimensions and whatnot, unable to reach you by the usual means. This was the case until eighteen months ago, when I experienced a critical change in my circumstances, and was redeposited on these shores. In the time since, I have been able to think occasionally about how best to describe the intervening years, my years of silence. I do first apologize for the wait, and that done, hasten to finally explain (albeit briefly, quickly, and in very little detail) events following those described in my previous letter (referred to herewith as Epistle 2).
Of course Gertie Fremont is a slight alteration of the name Gordon Freeman, the main character of the Half-Life series. The letter continues to summarize the events of Half-Life 2 Episode 2 before jumping into Half-Life 2 Episode 3 plot details. Other characters also receive the name change treatment. Alyx Vance's name and gender are changed to Alex Vaunt, Elly Vaunt's son. Dr. Mossman becomes Dr. Maas and the mysterious G-Man becomes Mr. X.
The letter ends with Gertie Fremont telling "playa" that he has returned to shore after getting plucked out of reality so long ago. Time has passed, and Fremont no longer recognizes the reality he returns to, but the spirit of rebellion remains.
By this point, Half-Life 3 is practically one of the biggest vaporware video game projects. Valve has forgone any mention of the game in favor of bolstering existing projects like Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offense. Valve's most recently announced game was Artifact, a Dota 2 card game. During the announcement, an audible groan was heard from the crowd once they found out the new title wasn't Half-Life 3.
Laidlaw's departure from Valve and the Half-Life series was a pretty big loss for the project and fan morale. It's not exactly clear whether or not this blog post should be considered Laidlaw's original story plans for Episode 3, a bit of creator made fan-fiction, or even a tacit announcement that this is the actual conclusion of the Half-Life series.
Still, if you're looking for a Half-Life "Epistle 3" story from the original Half-Life writer, Laidlaw's blog post should serve as some kind of consolation for fans who have been waiting so long for the next Half-Life episode.