The original Half-Life, Valve’s first game, was released in 1998 to critical and commercial success. In 2004, after a six-year development cycle that saw several delays, Valve released Half-Life 2, which was a major success in regards of game design and presentation, upping the stakes and expanding upon the backstories of the first game’s characters.

Fun fact: In the beginning, the purpose of Steam was to allow for quick updates to Valve’s core titles, and Half-Life 2 was the first that required its use. Over time, however, Steam’s role in Valve’s repertoire changed completely.

It’s been over thirteen years since the Half-Life series last showed life, with the shocking conclusion of Half-Life 2: Episode Two. Yet Valve hasn’t given us any indication we’ll ever find out what happened to Gordon Freeman and Alyx.

Will there be a Half-Life 3?

The possibility of a new release in the Half-Life series has been the greatest mystery in PC gaming of the past decade. During this time it has been the object of fake leaks, hoaxes, rumors and countless memes. If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen one of the many “Half Life 3 confirmed” jokes. This article by Andy Chalk covers everything that has been rumored about Half-Life 3.

But the time for speculations has finally ended. Or has it? Valve revealed the new addition to the series Half-Life: Alyx set to release in March 23rd 2020, but there are discrepancies in opinions of whether this new release counts as Half-Life 3 or not.

Is Half-Life: Alyx actually Half-Life 3?

Half-Life: Alyx is a VR-exclusive game. A prequel set between the first Half-Life and Half-Life 2, in the days when Alyx Vance and her father Eli are building the resistance to the Combine’s alien occupation of Earth. You’ll play Alyx, and you’ll be wielding a way to manipulate gravity once more: the “Gravity Gloves”, which we can see Alyx using to pick up a pistol from a distance and interact with puzzles in the game’s first trailer.

Some see the release of Half-Life: Alyx as a strategy hatched by Valve to sell their new VR headset Valve Index. Nevertheless, the game is also compatible with the competition’s VR Headsets. Despite being VR-exclusive, Valve’s programmer David Speyrer assures that “It’s not a side story, nor an episodic one —it’s the next part of the Half-Life story, in a game around the same length as Half-Life 2”.

Be it a full-length game or not, Half-Life: Alyx is a prequel and cannot not be treated as Half-Life 3. Even programmer David Speyrer hinted at the possibility of a sequel if Half-Life:Alyx is well received.

“Of course, we’ll have to wait and see how people react to Half-Life: Alyx once it’s out, but we’d love to continue pushing forward”

—David Speyrer during an interview with The Verge.

We can only hope that these words and the success of Half-Life:Alyx open the doors for more Half-Life in the near future.

Half-Life 3 Release Date

Now that the Half-Life hiatus has ended, we can begin to continue to speculate on the possibility of a Half-Life 3. Back in 2012, we saw the leak of concept art images reportedly drawn for a third episode of Half-Life 2, which never came to be. Click here to see all the concept art related to the presumed Half-Life 2: Episode Three.

After more than 10 years, it’s logical to presume that Episode Three is not going to happen. Could these images mean Valve decided to use these concepts for a possible Half-Life 3 instead?

Whether they have already started producing it or not, it’s clear Valve will wait to see the reception of Half-Life: Alyx before moving forward on any sequels. The development of a game this size can take well over 5-6 years, so don’t expect to see any release date soon. If we had to take a bet —which we do, since that’s the purpose of this site 🙃— we’d say a possible date for the release of Half-Life 3 is sometime in 2025.