bit-gamer.net

Titanfall 2 proves Half Life 3 is possible

Posted on 12th Mar 2017 at 15:00 by Rick Lane with 28 comments

Titanfall 2 proves Half Life 3 is possible Titanfall 2 proves Half Life 3 is possible.

The chances of Half Life 3 happening become more remote with each passing year. At the beginning of 2017, Game Informer reported a source from inside Valve stating that Half Life 3 didn’t exist because nobody was interested in making it. According to the source, several attempts had been made to get Half Life 3 off the ground, with versions ranging from a straightforward FPS sequel to a VR game, but they all eventually ran out of steam (pun not intended) because Gabe Newell simply isn’t interested.

I don’t want to debate whether or not Half Life 3 is likely to happen, or what obligation (if any) Valve have to make it. But there is one aspect of the Half Life 3 argument that I want to address. Amongst the various proposed theories about why Half Life 3 hasn’t surfaced, fairly regularly I see the point made that Valve can’t make Half Life 3.

Titanfall 2 proves Half Life 3 is possible Titanfall 2 proves Half Life 3 is possible.


The argument goes that it has been so long since Half Life 2, and the expectations have become so vast for a third game, that it is impossible for Valve to meet those expectations. Half Life 2 may have been one of the most critically acclaimed games of its time, but the industry has moved on so much since 2004 that a linear FPS in 2017 simply wouldn’t cut the mustard. For Half Life 3 to work today, it would need to radically alter its core design, perhaps moving to an open-world, or becoming a VR game (as allegedly dabbled with by Valve).

It’s an argument which tacitly suggests that linear FPS’ can no longer be innovative, and if you look at the trajectory of the linear FPS since 2004, there appears to be some merit to it. Half Life 2 remains regarded by many as the best shooter ever made, and if that’s true, it would infer that the industry has failed to improve upon it. Even if it isn’t true, there’s little doubt the linear FPS has suffered a decline in the last five to ten years. Once the dominant genre, nowadays only a handful of first-person shooters are released each year, and of those the majority are multiplayer-centric, your Call of Dutys, your Battlefields, new eSports contenders like Overwatch and Paragon.

Titanfall 2 proves Half Life 3 is possible Titanfall 2 proves Half Life 3 is possible.


To give a more concrete example, In 2004 there were around 20 major FPS releases in that year. These included Doom 3, Far Cry, Joint Operations, Unreal Tournament 2004, Painkiller, Killzone, Halo 2, Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault, and a bunch of others. In 2014, that number had shrunk to about eight, despite there being exponentially more games released overall. Alongside the likes of Wolfenstein: The New Order and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, these included Titanfall, which was multiplayer Far Cry 4, which is open-world, Destiny, which is multiplayer and open world, and Rekoil, because I was exceedingly generous with my counting.

It’s safe to say that shooters, particularly linear, single-player shooters, are no longer in vogue, so it’s reasonable to assume that for Half Life 2 to be successful (not just financially but critically) it would need to evolve beyond its traditional framework. I’ve believed this myself at various points in the last few years. And then last year I played Titanfall 2.

Titanfall 2 proves Half Life 3 is possible Titanfall 2 proves Half Life 3 is possible.


Titanfall 2 goes out of its way to demonstrate that there’s life in the linear FPS yet. In many ways its single-player campaign is a natural successor to Half Life 2. Its basic structure seems to be based on Valve’s masterpiece. Not only does it provide you with a companion for the majority of its length, just as Gordon teamed up with Alyx Vance for large sections of Half Life 2, but each of its chapters explores a different concept that radically alters the game for its duration.

The difference between the two is that Half Life 2 rode a wave of new technologies when it launched in 2004, most notably physics, but also advances in animation and other graphical innovations. This is likely where the idea that Half Life 3 would also need to take advantage of new tech stems from. Titanfall 2 doesn’t do this. In fact, Titanfall 2 technically runs on the same engine as Half Life 2, using a heavily modified version of Source. Instead, all of Titanfall 2’s innovations stem from a design perspective, from thinking about how to take the FPS to new places without some new tech to take advantage of.

Titanfall 2 proves Half Life 3 is possible Titanfall 2 proves Half Life 3 is possible.


What Titanfall 2 does is play with our perspective of space and time, using them to create unique scenarios and challenges the player must face. Some of these are carried over from the multiplayer-centric first-game, such as the wall-running mechanic and the fact that you fight at two dramatically different scales – human and Titan. But Respawn combine these tried and tested mechanics with inventive concepts and highly varied level design. Blood and Rust sees the player fighting on a gigantic factory floor, where an assembly line is building pre-fab houses. It an environment where walls, floors, and even entire buildings are constantly being flipped around, chopped and changed. Because of this, your perception of space, what is up and what is down, is constantly challenged.

Meanwhile, Effect and Cause swaps out spatial trickery for time-manipulation, and this time you’re in control. The mission effectively sees you exploring a research laboratory in two different timelines – one in which the lab is destroyed and wreathed in flame, the other in which it is pristine and functioning, yet filled with hostile soldiers. You can switch between the two at any point, and Respawn use the mechanic to create some incredible platforming and combat challenges.

Titanfall 2 proves Half Life 3 is possible Titanfall 2 proves Half Life 3 is possible.

Respawn’s push for innovation isn’t limited to these showcase missions either. Such thinking is applied to almost every aspect of Titanfall 2. Movement, weapons, even dialogue has been examined under a microscope by Respawn in search of a way to iterate upon it, to change it and make it feel fresh and surprising. It thinks of its levels not merely as pretty backdrops for action sequences, but physical places that directly impact upon how that action takes place. Battling enemies while hopping between fast-moving aircraft has a profound effect on how you fight compared with having your feet set on terra firma. It even frames certain sequences around specific weapon. A late chase sequence uses the auto-targeting pistol to sustain the player’s momentum, and convey that your enemy here is time over and above the opponents in front of you.

Titanfall 2 proves Half Life 3 is possible Titanfall 2 proves Half Life 3 is possible.

Titanfall 2 is the closest any FPS has come to rivalling Half Life 2’s desire to push the genre forward, to examine at a granular level how every element of the game, from your surroundings to the weapon in your hand, affect play on a moment-to-moment basis. And it all stems purely from the designers’ imaginations. Titanfall 2 proves there’s plenty of room for developers to think about the FPS in different ways, without relying on technical innovations to power new ideas. If Respawn can do it with Titanfall, there’s no doubt that Valve, could do it with Half Life 3. The question is not one of possibility, but one of choice.

28 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
IamSoulRider 12th March 2017, 15:32 Quote
@Jake - You make a massive post that can simply be refuted with one word.

Doom.

If ID can then Valve can. Doom isn't anything but a thoroughbred FPS. It doesn't tread Titanfall's path, it sticks to what it is, and that is what makes it so great.

A huge part of Half-Lifes successes were the graphical improvements between each game, and the improvement in the story. Even in the episodes the story got better. All HL3 needs is a better story than HL2 and to be better graphically. Then Valve do their Valve thing, and Half-Life 3 would be a winner. No need for trying anything too new.

A new toy like the Gravity Gun was in HL2 wouldn't go amiss though.
Instagib 12th March 2017, 16:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by IamSoulRider
@Jake - You make a massive post that can simply be refuted with one word.

Doom.

Absolutely this.

Doom was a revelation. It was a masterclass by Id on how to drag a tried and tested classic FPS into the modern age. Make it unrelenting, make it action focused and make it all about shooting stuff in the face with big guns.

Cut the crap, go back to basics.
JakeTucker 12th March 2017, 16:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunsmith


rick needs to be beaten with a fire extinguisher for comparing this piece of **** to half life.

Could we not suggest our writers need to be physically assaulted for having differing opinions? Cheers.

I'd steer clear of the negative autism jokes too, solely because I'm autistic, and it grates a bit.
Wakka 12th March 2017, 16:50 Quote
I don't buy into this argument that HL2 was the success it was because of technical, under the hood, innovations. As such I don't believe Valve have held off developing HL3 because they haven't been able to find another "silver bullet" (aka Gravity Gun)...

Half Life 2 was the success it was because it provided us with a world that was believable, characters that were relatable and likeable, and a story that you wanted a conclusion to (cheers, Gabe...). EP3 took those storyline and character developments and ramped them up to 11.

It also did this with a level of polish that, even now, is all too rare - it was well optimized, there were no control issues, the UI was unintrusive and the voice acting has never been surpassed. But ultimately the refinement in the technical aspects served only to keep the focus on the world and characters, and subsequently the immersion in its entirety, not distract you with "ooh ahhh" moments.

All this considered, the only conclusion I can come to as to why we don't have HL3, is that Valve can't finish the story in a way they are happy with. Probably because of hats.
RedFlames 12th March 2017, 17:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wakka
Probably because of hats.

There's only so many ways you can skin a crowbar...
Jimbob 12th March 2017, 18:59 Quote
I disagree, the fact that there are so few linear story driven FPS games makes it a great time to release it. It's my favourite genre and they always sell well.

I'd also argue that Valve owe it to us to make HL3. They sold the whole episode format to us promising 6 monthly instalments, they then left a cliff-hanger ending to Ep2
Fizzban 12th March 2017, 19:19 Quote
Who actually cares anymore? HL3 at this point would suck, and it would suck hard. The world has moved on. Valve know this and actually have the quality not to release a game just because. Get over it, and move on.
Anfield 12th March 2017, 19:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizzban
Who actually cares anymore? HL3 at this point would suck, and it would suck hard. The world has moved on. Valve know this and actually have the quality not to release a game just because. Get over it, and move on.

Doom disagrees. Sometimes it is actually good to go back in time and do things the old way.
Not everything needs to be a consolified 3rd person cover based open world ubisoft copypasta (or as it is sometimes called: A modern game).
Fizzban 12th March 2017, 19:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anfield
Doom disagrees. Sometimes it is actually good to go back in time and do things the old way.
Not everything needs to be a consolified 3rd person cover based open world ubisoft copypasta (or as it is sometimes called: A modern game).

I wholeheartedly agree. Doom did the near impossible, and was a good game that didn't sacrifice what originally made it good, while not bowing down and sucking COD peepee.

But Doom was a simple game that went through many, many revisions to get to a point where it no longer sucked. I don't think HL is nearly so simple. And HL3 would have to be extraordinary to not be a financial disaster. It might end up a cult classic, but Valve won't be interested in such. And if they thought they could put out a game worthy of the franchise, they would have already done so.

Don't hate me. I LOVED HL2 and the following 2 episodes, but I am also a realist. I do not want another Duke Nukem.
hyperion 12th March 2017, 22:00 Quote
pJKFGiMMg5I
perplekks45 13th March 2017, 07:47 Quote
There are two sides to the argument for me:

1) HL3 will disappoint many players if/when it arrives. Simply because there will be too much hype and expactations will be sky-high. Even Doom, which was a revelation in my opinion, disappointed many people. Be it for being a linear shooter or for an initially mediocre multiplayer. Rest assured there will be a very vocal minority on reddit bitching about the tiniest detail they can blow out of proportion.

2) There is a place for a story-driven HL3 today. For several reasons, to be honest: as already mentioned there simply are not enough of them around, a great story has the ability to fascinate and thus drive sales, and HL2 was more than just a great story. Characters, atmosphere, guns, enemies, etc. Obviously, they will have to deliver something great again to reach the same level or even improve on HL2, but I'm as sure as I was with id that they can deliver.
hyperion 13th March 2017, 10:42 Quote
I think most people just want a well written ending to the story and some pretty graphics packaged in a decent fps. Look at the excitement over ME: Andromeda, and there's nothing to indicate that it's anything other than more of the same. Except the characters look uglier.
Digi 13th March 2017, 10:49 Quote
It'll never be released 'cos Valve are making suits of 100 dollar bills and swimming in their pit of gold coins off the back of case sales and marketplace skin trades. There's no incentive for them to put that much money in to a AAA title when they can make millions in photoshop adding a new colour to an AK skin for CS:GO.

However, IF, they actually decided to start doing games development again, I think HL3 would be fantastic and received well.
Maki role 13th March 2017, 11:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anfield
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizzban
Who actually cares anymore? HL3 at this point would suck, and it would suck hard. The world has moved on. Valve know this and actually have the quality not to release a game just because. Get over it, and move on.

Doom disagrees. Sometimes it is actually good to go back in time and do things the old way.
Not everything needs to be a consolified 3rd person cover based open world ubisoft copypasta (or as it is sometimes called: A modern game).

Does it? I know an awful lot of people who bought Doom and thought it was absolutely terrible. I think it's perhaps not as clear cut as people are suggesting.

IMO HL3 isn't happening for a few reasons. The primary one is Valve doesn't need it. They're rolling in money thanks to Steam, and the games they do have out are raking it in also thanks to eSports and whatnot. The reason why this is important is that without a desperate need for another big hit title, if they don't really want to develop the game, they simply won't.

Valve has more interest in fostering their casinos to be honest.
liratheal 13th March 2017, 11:56 Quote
You know what.

I'm tired of hearing about Half Life 3 and its non existence.

It'll never come out and I'm fed up with people harping on about it. It's almost as tiresome as people whinging about Firefly.
perplekks45 13th March 2017, 11:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maki role
Does it? I know an awful lot of people who bought Doom and thought it was absolutely terrible.

BLASPHEMY!!!

But, seriously, I would be interested in what made it bad?
Maki role 13th March 2017, 12:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maki role
Does it? I know an awful lot of people who bought Doom and thought it was absolutely terrible.

BLASPHEMY!!!

But, seriously, I would be interested in what made it bad?

I'd have to ask them, didn't buy the game myself as it didn't seem my cuppa. IMO it appeared pretty decent and faithful to the originals, but I'm just playing devil's advocate in that not everybody thinks it was a runaway success.
Journeyer 13th March 2017, 12:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
It's almost as tiresome as people whinging about Firefly.

You had to go and bring up Firefly, did you? Words can hurt you know! The horror!
Wakka 13th March 2017, 12:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maki role
Does it? I know an awful lot of people who bought Doom and thought it was absolutely terrible. I think it's perhaps not as clear cut as people are suggesting.

Anyone who bought Doom and thought it was "absolutely terrible", bought it not knowing what it is and what it wanted to do.

I can't stand puzzle games, so when I bought the Orange Box I never bothered installing Portal. A couple of years ago I buckled under the social pressure and decided to give it a go - found it utterly boring and frustrating, but I wouldn't ever say it was a bad game. Just like Doom, it ran smoothly, the mechanics all worked exactly as advertised and intended, it's just not my type of game.

I challenge anyone to claim to be a fan of FPS games and honestly say Doom was bad, let alone terrible.
liratheal 13th March 2017, 15:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Journeyer
You had to go and bring up Firefly, did you? Words can hurt you know! The horror!

The way some people act about it - And I like it, by the way - it's like I've personally stabbed them with a knife forged from broken Firefly DVD's or something. It's just a TV show.

Much like HL3 isn't going to be a game.
Digi 13th March 2017, 15:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wakka
*snip*

Hear, hear.
Cthippo 14th March 2017, 05:49 Quote
Something that I took away from the article is a similarity between HL and Titanfall 2.

Both developers worked really hard on the games and kept at it until they got it right.

So many games these days are obvious attempts to put the bare minimum of work into something they can charge $60 for, preferably before anyone ever gets to play it. The almost exclusive focus on multiplayer so they don't have to develop as many levels, the unfinished, buggy, and just plain broken releases, selling a third of a game so you can sell the rest as DLC, etc. It's time consuming and expensive to make good games, and innovation includes risks. Sadly, quality and innovation are no longer seen as good investments in the gaming industry, and that, more than anything, is why we will never see another Half Life game.
RedFlames 14th March 2017, 13:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
So many games these days are obvious attempts to put the bare minimum of work into something they can charge $60 for

I believe the technical term is 'Minimum Viable Product'.
greypilgers 15th March 2017, 14:29 Quote
Frankly, I'm surprised that people still talk about Half Life 3. The discussion is boring. I imagine Mr Newell is of the opinion that people should stop banging on about it.
Cthippo 15th March 2017, 14:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by greypilgers
Frankly, I'm surprised that people still talk about Half Life 3. The discussion is boring. I imagine Mr Newell is of the opinion that people should stop banging on about it.

Is talking about our hopes and dreams without value?
Gareth Halfacree 15th March 2017, 15:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
Is talking about our hopes and dreams without value?
'But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
'
greigaitken 15th March 2017, 16:23 Quote
There's freegames.com if you're poor or hate evil AAA companies.

Sorry if i tread on those dreams, busy commuting while playing Zelda on Switch...can't watch the pavement too....
SinxarKnights 16th March 2017, 00:08 Quote
This has likely already been said, but at this point it would be silly to create HL3. It could never live up to the years of speculation and hype.

It could be the best game ever made and I can guarantee it would see a huge negative reception simply because of people's personal expectations of what they think it should be.

It is in Valve's best interest not to make this game.

Or not.
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums