It’s a pretty meaningful and, perhaps, poignant scene. Gabe is dilligently banging away at the golden crowbar with care and strength alike, stating that “these things, they take time“. No one’s going to rush him into doing it any faster – and, in fact, he does pretty clearly imply, within those five words, that it’s still quite far from completion, even at this time. And, so - fair enough!
So don’t dismiss this as a publicity stunt or a “trolling attempt” (whatever that term may mean, at this point), because this whole scene might have been one of Valve’s most sincere and, perhaps, thoughtful attempts to reconcile the Half-Life community during this very long wait. I don’t know if Neal came up with it, or if Gabe had the idea - but whoever did, it worked out really well, and I’d say it was a win-win for everybody.
“Neal and I met a couple of years ago. We had a couple of friends in common, and they decided they wanted to smash us into each other and see what happened. I am a big fan of what Neal is trying to do with CLANG, so he asked me to put in an appearance in the video. We are happy to help Neal and his team out. They’ve been to our offices a bunch, and several people at Valve attend the sword training they do.”
And if Newell looks like he knows what he’s doing with that anvil and hammer, he does. “I have a forge and a CNC mill in my garage,” he said. “The anvil in the shoot is mine, and is made by Nimba Anvils here in Washington State. The hammer I was using was made by a friend of mine in Arizona: Tai Goo.”
In addition, it does seem that during this video, Gabe is still wearing his Parsifal cap, which he first wore at GDC 2012. Parsifal, just in case you didn’t know, is a three-act opera, which took Richard Wagner 25 years to fully realize and create – from the 29th of April, 1857 to the 26th of July, 1882. Could have been worse – Gabe could have been wearing a SMiLE T-shirt.