Half-Life 3 is nearing Duke Nukem Forever in terms of epic development length. During that time, rumors have flown freely about what we can expect when Gordon Freeman dons the Hazardous Environment Suit and crowbar once more.

The latest rumor comes from French game site journaldugamer, claiming that a trusted source close to Valve has Half-Life 3 being developed as an open-world game with quests, NPCs, and RPG elements à la The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. The site speculates about a release date beyond 2013.

That’s all to be taken with a grain of salt, as we’ll likely only know details about Half-Life 3 when Valve wants us to. However, two trusted Valve forum moderators did officially¬†confirm a batch of leaked Half-Life 2: Episode Three screenshots earlier this year. Discovered by ValveTime.net, the images show arctic settings and outfits for the characters. You can see them all in the gallery below.

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Honestly, I can’t even remember where the story is in Half-Life. I know the series is great, but after Diablo III, I’ve learned to enjoy the now and not my put much stock in games that spend a painful amount of time in the oven.

GamesBeat has reached out to Valve for comment. Don’t hold your breath.