This is a brief e-mail exchange between Marc Laidlaw, the writer behind the Half-Life franchise, and Leveraged, the administrator of ValveARG.com:
As you can see, Marc is crystal clear on this: there is no ARG. Wheatley’s Character of the Year nomination short is just that: a non-canon, unimportant short. It means absolutely nothing. The constellations in the background mean nothing, the name of the satellite means nothing, the numbers on the side mean nothing, and so on and so forth. Really, guys: Valve isn’t always out to secretly announce Half-Life 3. And not every announcement Valve makes from now on will be in ARG form - in fact, I very seriously doubt the possibility of a Half-Life 3 ARG… ever. It’ll probably be just a surprise announcement. No need to make things needlessly complex with an unnecessary ARG.
But hey, we did hear that a voice actor had done work on a new Half-Life game. And we did hear that a Valve dev had worn a T-shirt to a game expo. And E3 2012 will mark 4 and a half years since the last time we saw Half-Life. Just as E3 2003 marked 4 and a half years since Half-Life 1′s release.
Of course, let’s not forget that Half-Life 2 was officially announced months before E3 2003. Back in… April. So, hang in there, fellow Half-Life fans.