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Valve Teases Half-Life 3 Through Hidden Steam Store Image; And More Strange Half-Life Hints And Clues

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[UPDATE 2: Looks like Leveraged and another reputable Steam Forum user both know something we don’t.]

[UPDATE: Added a small paragraph on the mysterious Valve Gift Grabs, near the end of the article.]

Could Leveraged and Spitfire’s informant have been right? Has the green-light really been given for Half-Life viral marketing? After all these years, has the time finally come for a new Half-Life installment? Let’s take a look at some pretty convincing hints regarding Half-Life, that have come from Valve in the past month. I’ll give you a few of my points of view, but it’s up to you to decide what to believe. In the words of an ancient Chinese wiseman, and totally NOT just Morpheus from The Matrix: “I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to go through it.” I swear it’s not Morpheus, though. I… don’t even like The Matrix. I mean, I do, but… yeah, you get the idea.

Valve Teases Half-Life 3 Through Hidden Steam Store Image; And More Strange Half-Life Hints And Clues

The first and biggest hint towards Half-Life 3 came just a few hours ago, on the Steam Store. Buyers and Steam users were simply looking through the games and sales on display as part of Day 5, until they noticed that there was a final hidden image at the very end of the slideshow (keep clicking right on the arrows or just click the final square), completely unrelated to the main event. This is that image:

Those are the three main Steam Store mascots: Sir Roderick Bodkin, or Bodkins for short, in yellow. Cyl is the little cynical, mean-looking dude in black, and Tappet is the guy in orange. In case you didn’t know, all three names fit with the valve-steam theme that Valve have got going on. In addition, these three all represent gamer stereotypes: Cyl represents the more pessimistic, “hardcore” gamer. Tappet is a bit of a newbie, and Bodkins is caught in between. There are three other, “secondary” mascots, so to speak, that I can’t identify, but they are not in this picture, so forget about them.

So, as we can all see, Cyl, Bodkins and Tappet are riding along with Santa Claus, on his pimped-out sleigh. What makes this picture interesting, you ask? Well, it seems that Bodkins has received a very special gift from Santa. A golden Half-Life necklace. With precisely three specks of light shining on its surface. Three. As if to imply Santa will be bringing us something HL3-related for Christmas. Now, I don’t know about you, but it’s a bit suspicious that this is the first time Valve has acknowledged Half-Life outside of a promotional occasion.

It also comes days after we heard someone at Valve had given the green-light on Half-Life viral marketing through hints and teases. And it’s a bit odd that this is inside a hidden image placed at the end of the sales slideshow. I mean… it isn’t advertising anything, it’s not affiliated to anything. Half-Life isn’t even a daily deal today, itwas a daily deal on Day 2. But, there’s a bit more to be found in this image. The gem directly under Bodkins’ necklace also has three shiny specks of light on its surface. In addition, the “S” on Santa’s sleigh has five specks of light on it, arranged exactly in the shape of a Lambda, the symbol of the Half-Life franchise. And, of course, Tappet has unboxed a golden candy cane that looks a lot like a crowbar.

Is that the only hint we’ve received straight from Valve? No, surprisingly. Let’s head over to the Valve Store, where they’ve got a holiday sale going on as well. To celebrate, they’ve given us a lovely little comic called “Randolph, the Red Nosed Turret”. It’s 4 pages long, and it tells the story of a little Aperture Science turret named Randolph, whose nose has been a source of ridicule for him, from fellow turrets. However, when he is tasked by GLaDOS to defend the Christmas tree from any would-be gift burglars, he passes with flying colors, albeit at the cost of killing Santa Claus and wrecking the room. The turrets are happy, but there’s one catch. Let’s take a look at page 3 of the comic:

Take a look at those Christmas stockings. How many? Three. That’s 3 stockings on page 3 of the comic. What’s written on the stockings? “Gordon”, “Alyx”, and “D0g”. What lies above these three stockings? A painting of the idyllic landscape we saw in Portal 2’s ending. Except the sky has been changed from what it looked like in the game, for no apparent reason. There are now precisely 3 clouds on the sky. This may be the first time Valve has acknowledged the existence of any Half-Life characters in a very long time. Would they really do it out of the blue, for absolutely no apparent reason? Breaking the Great Half-Life Wall of Silence? Or would they do it, knowing they now had a reason for it? You might say that they’re simply giving nods to all the Valve game franchises in this picture, except Team Fortress is nowhere to be found.

That’s not all. Speaking of Team Fortress, let’s take a look on the TF2 front, shall we? This step is simple: head on over to an official in-game Valve server. Once you’re in, open up the console and type “status”. Take a look at the results. If you’re simply too lazy to take a look yourself, then simply take a look at this YouTube video. Yes, that is another strange Half-Life reference. No idea when exactly it was added, but it must be fairly recent, as someone would have surely noticed it before. It doesn’t seem to be in any other Valve titles, so that rules out the possibility of a long-time coding mix-up.

And, finally, our last and, perhaps, more interesting hint, from the Steam Translation Server – this will be a description for one of the upcoming Holiday Sale achievement objectives, and it is currently on the STS for the community translators to translate it into all the different Steam languages, before it becomes an actual objective:

Imagine all the games they could have used for this example. All the active Valve franchises. Yet, they chose Half-Life. A franchise they’ve been  ignoring for a very long time. In the midst of all this pandemonium. Doesn’t that strike you as a bit odd?

And lastly, let’s take a look at the infamous “Valve Gift Grab” achievements we’ve seen in L4D2, CSS, DOD:S and TF2. Secret, hidden achievements – unlike the rest of the holiday achievements. They haven’t appeared as objectives on a single day of the Holiday Sale event. And the number of in-game gifts you need to collect from dead enemies’ corpses is… yes, precisely three. What purpose do the Gift Grabs serve? Well, let’s hope we find out soon.

Now, I’m not going to make any assumptions or theories. You’ll hear no speculation from me – but consider this: in the past month, we’ve seen more hints out of Valve regarding Half-Life than we’ve seen in the past 3-4 years. And we’ve heard that Valve has given the green-light to release hints regarding the franchise, from two reputable sources with an informer who hasn’t let them down in the past. And let’s not forget that Game Informer did say we’d see a Half-Life 3 reveal this year. Didn’t we also hear a US-based Valve voice actor tell Official Xbox Magazine that he had done voice work for the upcoming Half-Life? And, of course, we have Wheatley, implying a new Valve singleplayer title will be out in 2012.

Hey, I’m just saying!


  1. Also if you can find it i saw the words Aperture science in chapter one of half life 2 on a monitor linked to a security camera.

  2. you do realize that you play as Alyx in portal right?

  3. Wasn’t it confirmed that Chell will play an important part in HL3?

    • That was a very long time ago. I’m not sure if that still applies, especially since Chell was in stasis during HL3’s events and only woke up for Portal 2 decades, centuries or even millenia afterwards.

      • Well, maybe the events of Portal takes place at the same time as the ones during the next Half-Life installment? Maybe there’s a connection between… I don’t know, GLaDOS and the Borealis? A long shot, but we’re in the speculation phase so it really doesn’t matter. I myself am more interested in what happened to that deaf character…

        • Even if you assume Portal takes place at the same time as the HL2 saga (which it doesn’t – it takes place shortly after the Combine invasion), it still makes no difference, as in Portal, we are Chell, and we never see Chell going to the Borealis. As for the deaf character, I recall hearing that he might not be included. It’s a shame, but I always thought that it seemed a bit too gimmicky for my tastes.

          • Ok I appreciate my comment below makes it sound like I doubt they’ll every actually get to Half-Life 3… But… I agree. I love Portal but the whole spirit of Portal is radically different to Half-Life. Aside from the Borealis angle, I really doubt they’d include much from Portal, certainly not GlaDos and almost certainly not Chell.

            Obviously, Valve move in mysterious ways, but I highly doubt it.

  4. This may be a long shot but, in the valve store xmas card, the window view seems a lot like the field Chell was last seen in the portal 2 ending. Plus gladOS asking a turret to guard the window to prevent her from coming back, and maybe an indicator of some sort of cross reference between portal and h.l?

  5. Hey guys,
    I emailed Marc today about those GabeN emails regarding “all your favorite things in 2012”.

    He Confirmed for me that they are indeed FORGED. repeat, FALSIFIED.

    I’d show the emails but i don’t have a screen shot atm.
    I’ll forward to the Admin though if you’d like.

  6. Hl3 engine incoming

  7. Anyone see the artwork today for the sale? The platforms the mascots are on totally looks like a lambda on its side.

    Plus three mascots.

    Just sayin’.

  8. ..Knows something we don’t….
    WAIT? What do you know??!

  9. smash, Mod on the Steam forums recieved this answer from Mr. Laidlaw:
    i think that clears stuff up..

  10. Actually, almost always… ;]

  11. There are 3 lights around the lambda sign to the left. Hmm?

  12. Wow, Vic, are really reaching this time.

  13. *Not until you learn proper grammar, young man.

  14. It’s close, my fan-body sense are going nuts, the time of another game revolutionize is upon is Half-Life fans!
    It’s coming!

  15. Actually on randolf, The red nose turret, Theirs sticky bombs on the christmas tree. So all the games are referenced.

  16. Introducing: LEFT 4 DEAD 3

  17. OMG Half Life 3!
    Wait… weren’t we supposed to get HL 2 Ep 3 like 4 years ago or so???

  18. The mascots are also semaphoring. ( )

    HLG or HL7, I think? The first two are definitely H and L. The last one definitely not a 3 or a T.

  19. You guys read into this waaaaaaaaay too much.


    found by me on new offers compare it with the original

    tell me what u think

  21. Is this a troll site? The third picture seems to indicate that, it’s ridiculous.

    • I think they’re just overanalysing everything.

    • The third picture was not created by us. Unfortunately, we are not a troll site – oh, how much easier my job would be.

      • I’ll DDOS this website for how retarded it is, then I’ll just forcefully purchase this shitty website from their hosting domain and then tear it down. You nerds need to stop looking so deep into shit, it’s fucking retarded how much you all slob on the dick at valve when that was the worst company ever when it started and it still is for the most part. Fuck valve, fuck this website, let the DDOS commence. Website coming down in 30 minutes.

        • Yawn. You’re so boring.

        • hi guys i learned the word DDOS today and i’m going to show it off on the internet

        • Do my eyes deceive me; did he just say what I think he did, on a fan site? That takes guts.
          How on earth did you find this site in the first place? You must have been doing Valve searches to find LambdaGeneration.
          If you hate Valve so much, why did you check up this stuff in the first place?

        • VALVe is sneaky about these things, and everyone will get tinfoil-hatted over VALVe, because you never know what the fuck is going on over there.

          • I think the above comment was douchey and stupid, but he does have a point in a sense. Half-Life 3 is getting ridiculous at this point. From all appearances they don’t even seem to be working on it… Half-Life is the series that brought Valve to the dance, they could at least respect the fans enough to do what they say they will. Episodic gaming seemed to bite a bullet, we were supposed to get episodes every few months and yet… hmm. I appreciate that they made more money from Steam than they ever could by any single game’s sales alone, but come on, that being the case really how hard can it be for them to give their original fans and customers what they want?

            And no, I’m not naive I appreciate how expensive and time consuming games can be etc. etc. etc. and yes, there’s a good chance I’m just turning into a bitter old gaming veteran in my late twenties here… but seriously? Not even a hint of intent from Valve at this point? So whilst I may disagree with all the other nonsense that poster said, we’re nearing a stage where a lot of us who actually still care about Half-Life 3 will agree on one point; fuck valve.

    • That ‘upside-down lambda’ just looks like a smudge to me. The 3 on the other hand I see.

      • Yeah, I agree that the upside-down Lambda may be a stretch. But the two 3’s seem to be… well, real, so to speak.

        • As much as I hate to say this, he actually has a point: The “3” in the Smissmas comic is just the Spy’s cigarette smoke. I don’t think it’s a 3. Hidden lambdas and 3’s don’t seem to be Valve’s style, if PotatoFoolsDay is any indication.

  22. This one’s fake. Marc’s email address isn’t [email protected]

  23. My mind is so full of fuck.


  24. On the side of Santa’s glasses in the huge picture, there is a symbol. Does it mean anything?

  25. In the 6th paragraph, you say Team Fortress is nowhere to be found in the above comic. However, the christmas balls on the tree are actually the Demoman’s stickybombs from TF2.

    Let’s hope Valve really is going to announce Half-Life 3, rather than everybody just getting paranoid…

  26. It’s just so.. obscure. I want to believe, I really do, but I can only take so much.

  27. I think I’ve entered a phase in Half-Life speculating where I literally don’t trust anyone anymore. But IF this is, on fact, legit clues and hints, then my sister will have to be left with no Christmas present from me this year. 70€ will go straight to my savings account…

  28. The TF2 one is the least plausible, though may be valid. The other two are a little more suggestive, though, since they’re not isolated incidents and are a little more overt. To my knowledge, those Steam characters have been purposefully drawn *without* any imagery from a Valve game, unless it was for some promotion. And the names are just the names, no arguing that.

    I’m starting to get into tin foil hat mode a little bit.

  29. Marc answer about pseudo-ARG:
    Oh, Valve have a plan! Excellent!

  30. Hey, Vic, do you think “HL3/Episode 3” warrants a spot on the “games” drop down menu? There are certainly enough articles about it.

    • Good point, but since it hasn’t been formally announced yet, and pretty much every single one of our “pre-announcement” articles, so to speak, does not have a HL3 tag, adding it now would be a bit strange.

  31. If all of this turns out to be true on christmas eve or later on, i honestly can’t predict what will happen with my mind.

    Prolly the first thing i’ll do is silently open up HL2.exe and play through all of it again. While maintaining a bigass smile. All the time, untill the credits eventually roll.

    And then i’ll finally see the true meaning and extent of happiness.

  32. Thanks Vic for this great writeup. You’ve done a thorough job. Good work.

  33. Alright, I’m not going to sleep anymore from now on.

  34. I’ve been assuming one of the Valve artists simply signs his work with a lambda; they pop up all the time. The earliest examples I can think of for sure are the L4D posters and on the forehead of Francis, but I think it’s been going on for longer than that.

    Is there some kind of group dedicated to finding these hidden lambdas? I’d find it interesting to read summaries of their locations, like in the Smissmas Story analysis image above from DeviantART.

    • Those lambdas have shown up a lot, but they’ve been really scarce in the last few years. Plus, these have been done by more than one artist, and there are other clues.

      • Apart from TF2’s Mailstorm comic in 2010, which had Saxton Hale’s fist clenched in the exact shape of the number 3 alongside a lambda-shaped vein on his chest, which was, arguably, an isolated incident, I don’t think the lambda thing has been going on for that long. The L4D lambdas may or may not be mere nods.

      • You’re probably both right. I have an overwhelming sense that I see them all the time without 3s but can’t think of any specific instances — maybe Valve have been testing their memory wipe technology.
        I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t read the entire article before commenting yesterday. Had I read it properly the first time I wouldn’t have left that comment, it doesn’t make much sense in context now.

  35. Who knows in Christmay Day we have a Half-Life 3 reveal

  36. I just wanted to come to say, Vic, please stop this madness, relax, take a break or something, this can break your soul, tour spirit, but I know I can’t stop you. No one can. These clues look legit and your analysis really have me thinking now.

    You’re a bad person Vic. Also, I love you for fucking with mi mynd, just as Valve is doing it with this.

  37. I’m scared for the future Vic, hold me…

  38. I’ve also stumbled upon this e-mail. Momentarily, I am unable to fully verify its authenticity. I can, however, confirm that the Laidlaw’s address in this picture is a legitimate e-mail address that he does use. The rest of this e-mail remains uncertain, so instead of adding it to the article, I am leaving it here, in the comments, for now:

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