Another chapter in the dark history of the missing Half-Life threequel was written today, as our brothers-in-arms over at ValveTime have managed to get a hold of some pretty monumental stuff: 33 concept art images for Half-Life 2: Episode Three, dating from March 2008 (before EP3 was presumably cancelled, and then restarted development as Half-Life 3).
These concept drawings depict a variety of ideas and locations:
- a redesigned Alyx Vance, now wearing her deceased father’s clothes, as well as a variety of different outfits suitable for Arctic temperatures.
- the Xen borderworld, completely re-imagined, ten years after Xen was first envisioned for Half-Life 1. Somewhere in Xen, Gordon is depicted confronting a strange portal entity, as well as a Combine Advisor
- the crashed Resistance helicopter in the Arctic landscape, surrounded by all-new Combine structures similar in aspect to the Citadel, and similar in scale to the Depot.
- Gordon Freeman, now wearing a hooded winter parka. Even as early as Half-Life 1, it was established that the HEV suit couldn’t handle low temperatures, and in the chapter “Apprehension”, even the background temperature of an industrial Black Mesa freezer was able to sap the HEV’s energy reserves dry in mere moments. It would also seem that Gordon might be wearing something new underneath this parka, as one concept art piece where his hood is off, shows him wearing some sort of white headgear with a mysterious symbol printed on it.
- all-new characters: including the refugee inhabitants of the Arctic, and possibly a new Combine creature.
I have been able to independently verify the status of these images, and it does seem as though they are, in fact, real, possibly created by Valve’s own Andrea Wicklund.
Well… without further ado, here is what the newest entry in the Half-Life franchise looked like, as of March 2008. Beware, as these art pieces may represent game spoilers:
I must say, this is some pretty impressive stuff. While there are, of course, some possible spoilers for the game (a return to Xen, of course, was something very few of us thought would ever happen), it is some really jaw-dropping art overall. I just hope this stuff remains in the game.