Earlier today, we broke the story of “We Want Half-Life 3”, an Indiegogo campaign started by New Mexico-based advertising interns Kyle Mazzei and Chris Salem, and dedicated to “getting Valve to finish the game we’ve dreamed about all these years”.
These two are professionals – they obviously know what they’re doing. They’ve taken the time to make a cool logo, a slick promotional video and some decent Photoshop mockups of their plans. But those plans haven’t been subjected to the same rigorous quality control process that, purely for example, Valve gives to their games:
“The idea for the campaign was really created super organically. Kyle and I were simply discussing our love for Valve, and the Half-Life series with our bosses, and five minutes later it turned into what we have now.”
It’s obvious that they’re as passionate about Half-Life as any of us here at the site, and that we all would love some real news regarding Half-Life 3. But no matter how many goals this campaign reaches, I just can’t see how it would be good for the developers we love, or the game we want.
One goal of the “We Want Half-Life 3” campaign is to hire a mobile billboard truck to circle Valve’s HQ for an entire day
The campaign, if funded to its full goal of $150,000, will have four ways of showing the Half-Life community’s ardent wish for more of Gordon Freeman’s adventures, including a targeted ad campaign both on and offline, and hiring several Gabe Newell lookalikes to visit the Valve offices.
See Also: New Crowdfunding Campaign ‘We Want Half-Life 3′ Launched
I’ll admit that these all sound like cathartic fun for us long suffering fans (who still need a name), and that I’d like to see that proposed brood of Gabe’s purely out of academic curiosity, but I don’t really think it’s the best thing to do.
For a start, it should be said that this sort of thing has been done before. After Hal Jordan, DC Comics’ Green Lantern, was killed off in 1994, comic fans assembled one of the first-ever internet protest groups, called “Hal’s Emerald Action Team”, to condemn this. The full story is outlined by the Escapist’s Bob Chipman here and here, but the upshot is that the fans got their way after a decade, and soon began to regret the absurd lengths to which they went as the internet was brought more into the eye of the general public.
We don’t even have to leave the Half-Life 3 fandom for examples of this: Around New Year’s 2012, Steam Forum user “Slendy” created “Operation Crowbar“, an initiative to send Valve’s fan mail address as many crowbars as possible. “We shall not stop until Valve is up to their nipples in crowbars“, the initial manifesto read. “Or when the cease and desist orders come.” Those orders came within a few days, saying that the crowbars qualified as hate mail – a crime.
Just one month later, though, a much more popular – and welcome – movement was staged: “A Call For Communication’s” “Red Letter Day“, when over 13,000 people, including Minecraft sellout Markus Persson and Steam administrator BurtonJ, played Half-Life 2 concurrently on February 4th.
Surprisingly, few remember that this protest succeeded: In the wake of Red Letter Day, Gabe himself was quite open about the dilemma Valve has created for themselves, speaking to Seven Day Cooldown and Penny Arcade:
“We’re acutely aware of how much we annoy our fans and it’s pretty frustrating to us when we put them into that situation […] so we’re trying to be careful not to get people too excited and then have to go and disappoint them. We’re sort of reacting in the other direction and saying ‘Okay, well let’s have things a little more baked before we start getting people all excited about it.”
Later that year, Gabe outright confirmed the development on a next-gen Source engine, saying that they were working on games for the engine.
See Also: Gabe Newell Confirms That A Next-Gen Valve Game Engine Is In Development
Which brings us to this latest attempt to get them to say more. Again, it sounds great – fun, community-building and productive. But think about it, folks: What do you really want to happen?
Valve has made it clear that they’re hard at work on Source 2 and Half-Life 3, and though signs point to Left 4 Dead 3 being released first to test the engine, their flagship franchise won’t be far behind.
An allegedly leaked screenshot of Source 2 showing Left 4 Dead’s plantation from Swamp Fever
If, somehow, this gets enough popularity and revenue to actually happen, it won’t get them to say anything more, and nothing on the face of the Earth will get the game out faster. Like I said earlier, the strenuous playtesting process that make Valve games the classics they are takes time – the money would be better suited going into temporal mechanics research, to solve the problem the hard way.
While it’s admirable to see Half-Life fans showing all their love and support, this just isn’t the smartest or most effective way to do it.
What are your own thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below!
Feature image created by Ivan Bakula.
Around the International Community
Steamgamer – “Crowdfunding-Kampagne für Half-Life 3 gestartet”
Steam Users’ Forums – “A new crowdfunding campaign called “We Want Half-Life 3″ has begun”
Half-Life SubReddit – “Two advertising interns create a crowdfunding campaign to get Valve to…”