In one corner, we have the beloved Half-Life 3. In the other stands the meticulous money-maker: Dota 2.

There’s a difference between a “bad game” and a “game you don’t like.” If you hate a title, that doesn’t make it bad, by any means. While I don’t enjoy Half-Life 2, I respect the series. It made much progress for interactive storytelling and world-building within the gaming industry. I just don’t like playing it.

There’s a fine line there, where a player can withhold adoration/loathing and look at a game objectively. I say this not to be “holier than thou,” but to illustrate a point. I hate playing Half-Life 2. Half-Life doesn’t suck.

I would have loved to see a third full entry to the Half-Life series—to see how Valve would innovate the market next. Yet Valve has many ventures lately. They run Steam, the largest digital distributor of PC games. They develop new tech, from various VR gadgets to the Steam Link and Steam Controller. Valve also maintains a few multiplayer titles, such as Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Dota 2.

At The International 7, Valve’s global Dota 2 championship held earlier this month, the company announced a brand-new game. Their latest project is Artifact, a digital card game based on Dota 2. Players in many different circles see this as a blatant cash grab. It’s especially disappointing for fans who hoped for a new Half-Life teaser. You can literally hear the crowd sigh as the teaser plays.  Artifact now carries a stigma; it hasn’t even launched, nor does it have a proper gameplay trailer. Yet it’s “the new way Valve operates.”

…Valve is turning their backs on narrative-based content. In search of larger profits, they’re adopting multiplayer titles laden with microtransactions.

While that feud raged on, Marc Laidlaw’s latest blog post (SPOILERS for possible future Half-Life games) hinted that a new Half-Life game may never see the light of day. With that, a wildfire was set ablaze. Artifact was one thing, but the NDA on Half-Life 2: Episode 3 is up. Marc was the game’s lead writer, and his publishing of its plot summary signals the end of the franchise. All those precious HL2Ep3/Half-Life 3 memes seem to have been for naught. Fans are furious. The post has further proven the theory many players created after Artifact‘s reveal.

From their point of view, Valve is turning their backs on narrative-based content. In search of larger profits, they’re adopting multiplayer titles laden with microtransactions. It’s a fair assumption: The International 7 had a prize pool of around $25 million. These pools grow thanks to player purchases of a seasonal “Battle Pass”, but only 25% of these profits go towards the prize. The other 75% presumably goes to Valve, or towards the event in general. Not to mention that fans buy cosmetics and loot-crate-style Treasures throughout the year. Valve is filthy rich, thanks to Steam transaction fees, marketplace items, and Treasures.

While most Half-Life fans are placing their anger on the shoulders of Valve, a decent number have taken aim at the company’s other gaming endeavors. Most notably, Dota 2 and its fanbase have come under fire. From Reddit comments to Steam reviews, fans are furious. Dota 2 is garbage, built to feed money to Valve. Its fans are unsuspecting dolts, responsible for the death of Half-Life 3.

As I said, it’s a thin line between disliking a game and calling it literal trash. Many emboldened fans are currently having trouble with this distinction. Yet their logic makes no sense: Half-Life 3 and Dota are not mutually exclusive. Valve can make both: this isn’t the fans’ fault. If anything, the money raked in by Dota should be funding Half-Life 3, not stealing its thunder.

Valve could hit two markets at once… They’re choosing not to.

Yes, Valve is smart by developing for its money-making franchises. But the idea that it’s dropping Half-Life 3 for financial reasons is ludicrous. Though it would cost a small fortune to finish, the game would garner many new sales due to its legendary status. Valve could hit two markets at once: multiplayer fans, and singleplayer gamers. They’re choosing not to.

Dota 2 fans like Dota 2, and will spend their money any way they see fit. A few negative reviews won’t stop their post-TI7 high. Often times, these players are in a separate subset than the ones who’d buy a new Half-Life. They’re not taking money from one product and pushing into another. It’s a separate audience. No Overwatch fan yells at World of Warcraft fans when the game feels imbalanced.

I’m not saying the supposed cancellation of the Half-Life series is a good thing. It’s not—it’s tragic. “Valve sucks.” But we’ve seen the gaming community create the wrong narrative before. Marc’s script may not be the only one, and his post may not mean anything. Even if it does, Dota 2 didn’t kill Half-Life 3. Valve did. I admit, many fans out there understand this. Yet it’s important that we ban together as one, instead of point fingers at the wrong culprit.

Want someone to get mad at someone? Go for Valve, and Valve alone. Stop buying Steam games, start some social media campaigns, and talk trash on Reddit. Don’t deride fellow gamers due to a difference in taste. Don’t belittle their choices and spending habits. In fact, don’t blame Dota 2 at all. Valve is wholly capable of developing several games at once, thanks to the sales so many despise. Either Valve hasn’t found the innovation and inspiration to finish Half-Life 3, or they don’t feel like it. Choose your narrative.

ONE OF US! ONE OF US!

Subscribe to receive updates on top posts, magazine releases & more
  • DarthDiggler

    @Dylan Bishop

    You do realize that the game industry like other industries are driven by profits? If Valve is creating revenue channels from multiplayer games with microtransactions how can you suggest that is content people do not want?

    Valve has never officially announced Half Life 3 as far as I know. So they couldn’t have canceled a game they never announced. I have heard HL3 has been in development hell with numerous teams working on various versions at different times. All of that costs Valve money and they can’t work on pet projects unless they have a solid revenue stream. Which cam be created with other efforts such as this card game.

    At least you are honest Dylan. This article really showcases the truth in your profile. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7d07ee8b909020a9aa1a8486c07d18d7fe9c094355b6ddcc65ba3e9b2b9f5825.png

    • Dylan Bishop

      I’m not suggesting that multiplayer games are “content people do not want.” That’s the exact opposite of what I mean. Dota, TF2, CSGO- people DO want them. That’s why they’re making money. So it’s ludicrous for Half-Life fans to expect those to crash and burn, or say they’re terrible games that no one likes. I actually really enjoy Dota, and point out in this post that Valve could use Dota as their “revenue stream” to develop other titles. You and I have the same argument here. Yet it seems that you stopped reading when I was discussing the point-of-view for Half-Life fans, thought it was MY point-of-view, and proceeded to comment.

      Also, yes, I poke fun at myself in my author profile. I write for fun in my free-time, between school and work. I’m never going to claim that I’m the be-all-end-all authority on the gaming industry. Just a kid trying to have a conversation.

      EDIT: In addition, the released script was for Half-Life 2: Episode 3, which many people have assumed would just be rebranded to Half-Life 3. It was indeed announced, in 2006, and Newell has discussed both games numerous times since:
      https://www.gamespot.com/articles/half-life-2-episode-one-gold-two-dated-three-announced/1100-6151796/
      https://www.polygon.com/2016/5/21/11728748/half-life-2-episode-3-gabe-newell-video-no-comment

      • DarthDiggler

        @dylanbishop3:disqus

        I’m not suggesting that multiplayer games are “content people do not want.”

        Oh really? LOL then why would you choose these images for this article?
        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/57f722eed7df1b32ae3f057a35c395fa068871b84ca27e89c8f5b8d585a4f88a.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9a129a02157211893c303810b7c2fb1cb2695b8f6496093525a9b374b61b9ca0.png

        These images pretty much say exactly that. I will add these comments seem completely cherry picked and likely do not represent a sample size that would showcase how MOST people feel.

        actually really enjoy Dota, and point out in this post that Valve could use Dota as their “revenue stream” to develop other titles. You and I have the same argument here. Yet it seems that you stopped reading when I was discussing the point-of-view for Half-Life fans, thought it was MY point-of-view, and proceeded to comment.

        Well to be honest some of this article can be take one way or the other. You didn’t seem to claim a side. That being said if you wanted to really drive that point home and educate your audience about the state of Half Life it doesn’t look like you did your homework. HL3 has been in development in various instances some teams as small as 3 people were working on it some teams up to 40 people were working on it. The money to fund that development has to come from some where since Valve isn’t making revenues off of games they don’t release.

        The lack of research on your part becomes obvious from this passage, which also flies the face of your “Valve using a card game as a revenue stream for bigger better games” point of view.

        Want someone to get mad at someone? Go for Valve, and Valve alone. Stop buying Steam games, start some social media campaigns, and talk trash on Reddit.

        Do you think a game that has been in development hell for years needs to create a campaign of kids complaining about the lack of Half Life 3? You don’t think that Valve wants to make HL3? You don’t think they want it to be as groundbreaking as HL1 or HL2? You don’t think maybe that level of ambition has caused the game to be delayed?

        I’m never going to claim that I’m the be-all-end-all authority on the gaming industry.

        Yea but if you are publishing your words on the internet on a website you are positioning yourself as someone with experitse. If you are going to publish expertise it should be with the intent to inform your audience. When i can spend 5-10 minutes on Google and find out more about the development history of Half Life 3 then your article reveals that isn’t good. You should inform yourself and research before you write instead of using your article as a platform to gin up player disgust against a company like Valve.

        EDIT: In addition, the released script was for Half-Life 2: Episode 3, which many people have assumed would just be rebranded to Half-Life 3. It was indeed announced, in 2006, and Newell has discussed both games numerous times since:

        Half Life 3 was never officially announced. Gabe talking about an assume sequel to a game coming out that is a sequel to a sequel is not an official announcement.

        Here is a little homework for you. If what you say is true find me the Valve Press Release with the Half Life 3 announcement.

        I would like to play HL3 more than a card game with microtransactions, but Valve has mouths to feed too.

    • ω-forces

      they didn’t even bother starting it . they won’t make pc games coz they’ll never be able to do better than sony 1st party ps4 exclusives . pc market is too poor and weak

HELLO TRAVELLER!

Thanks for reading. Remember to bookmark our site if you enjoy our stuff, and why not share us with your friends?

Send this to a friend