When it happens, Half-Life 3 could be the next Duke Nukem Forever

This post has been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.
Editor's Note from Stephanie Carmichael:
Mark reflects on how long-awaited games rarely meet expectations and how Valve's name has become synonymous with a platform, not a creator.

October will mark the seven-year anniversary of Half-Life 2: Episode Two, the last installment in developer Valve’s trademark first-person shooter series. Since then, we’ve seen portals, swanky new hats, and even a remake of everyone’s favorite rage-inducing shooter, Counter-Strike.

But there’s been no hints about a release of Half-Life 3 — or, at the very least, a third episode of Half-Life 2. Granted, the Internet — and more specifically, the gaming community — has kept the word of Gaben (Gabe Newell, Valve’s co-founder) alive and well and has continued to sing his praises in wait for this next installment. The memes, stories, and pictures that have arisen have been everything from depressing (if I see another fake website with a countdown timer, I’m going to cry) to downright hilarious (but I could see a few more “Gaben, Our Lord” propaganda posters).

As the years go by, I’m slowly reminded of a more recent game that came out after the community had been waiting, watching, and wishing for what seemed like a millennia — Duke Nukem Forever. Remember that game, guys? The game that took 15 years to develop because of a myriad of developer decisions, hold-ups, funding issues, dissolution of companies, and plain bat-shit insanity?

Better yet, remember how bad it was? There was no possible way it could live up to the hype 15 years of development can bring. By that point, fans of that series were already rabid for anything new, and gamers that had never chewed bubblegum and kicked ass before were left underwhelmed without the sense of nostalgia veteran players felt. The game was laughable (thought it had its fun moments), sold miserably, and ended the reign of the king posthaste.

Granted, Valve has infinitely more clout than 3D Realms ever did, but in the end, it wasn’t necessarily the company that destroyed the game. Duke Nukem Forever was a Duke Nukem game for all that I remember of the series; I just didn’t care about it anymore by the time I got my hands on it.

Duke Nukem Forever
We’re now coming up on half of that time with Half-Life 3, and while I’d love to see Gordon Freeman’s story finished, I’m becoming increasingly more skeptical of the game and how it’ll be received. As years pass, I encounter more gamers who have never heard of Half-Life — much less played any of the games — and instead know Valve (and subsequently Steam) more as a digital distribution platform and less as a developer that tells amazing stories.

The cult of Gaben diminishes daily as gamers give up the hobby for more important things like work and family, and the few who stick around like religious zealots have smaller soapboxes to stand on. What if we gave up the fight? What if we let the Freeman legacy stand as a beacon of gaming accomplishment? An incredibly popular franchise that was never finished yet still revered.

Then we have no chance of another Duke Nukem Forever. We have no chance of our nostalgia glasses being stepped on, forever crushing our memories of days gone by. Sometimes? Sometimes, I feel like the fight for Half-Life 3 is just that situation.

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Bort Mansfield
Bort Mansfield

This article doesn't make any sense.  Duke Nuken Forever was actively in development for 15 years, caught in development hell, while Half-life 3 has never been in development or announced.  Completely different.

There's also many successful sequels that have waited a great many years between releases, ie: 8 years between Super Metroid and Metroid Prime.  I'd also much rather devs wait several years between sequels than annual sequels...err, full-priced expansion packs, like Call of Duty.

Shaba Ranks
Shaba Ranks

Stupid article. You cant even compare the two considering HL3 has never been announced or even officially stated as being worked on.

Everyone keeps saying "It's been so long..." So long since what? Valve never said they were working on HL3, its simply been expected that they would. Have they announced Portal 3? 

Caio Vianna
Caio Vianna

Bad article. Simply put, a series not being milked doesn't mean it isn't dead. VALVe WILL get back to Half-Life some day.

Jesse Smyser
Jesse Smyser

Well, you're kinda right. It's been so long I don't really give a shit anymore. I've moved on.

Xavier C
Xavier C

I love how people act as if a long wait of 7 years = HL3 will never be released. "What's that? 7 years? Nah, it's done. It's never coming out." Sorry, but that's some dumbass logic. So, just because it's been a long wait with no information, that means it's never coming out? Why? None of you know this for sure. And all anyone ever mentions is Duke Nukem Forever when HL3 is being discussed. "Oh, look how Duke Nukem turned out! That's obviously what's going to happen to HL3!!! A long wait means the game is going to suck for sure!" Why? Just one example proves this dumbass theory? This is Valve we're talking about. A very successful, popular company who makes great games. Half-Life isn't anything like the Duke Nukem, either. Comparing them is just beyond retarded. Also, Episode 2 ended on a cliffhanger with a bunch of story set up for the next game, Half-Life 3 would be a huge money maker, and by now it's garnered a huge following - they'd be stupid not to come out with it sometime. Even if it's not until 2022, I'll still be here waiting eagerly to play it, along with many others.

And I love how a bunch of people act like they don't even care anymore. "Oh, it's been so long that I don't even care or want another Half-Life game. They missed the boat." I guarantee as soon as you heard an official announcement, a trailer, and a release date you'd be hyped up again. 

Everybody just relax and sit back. HL3 will be here one day.

Michael Entwistle
Michael Entwistle

Don't be ridiculous, you know that if it was released tomorrow then you would buy and play it in an instant. Diablo 3 had over 15 million sales, Guild Wars 2 is still blooming despite 5+ year development. We still have "Half Life 3" memes everywhere on the internet. 

A great game stands on its own merits, not on the previous franchise; Half Life 2 compared to Half Life is a great example of that. Duke Nukem Forever was simply a badly made game.

It's possible that HL3 will never be released (although I strongly suspect it will be along with the Steam Machine), but saying you don't want to play it because too much time has passed since HL2? Come on.

Danijel Karabenc
Danijel Karabenc

I would rather had a disappointed finish of the series, than great unfinished story/game. 

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