Unseen Half-Life concept art released – including a spin-off that never came out

Many Half-Life projects never came to fruition, from Half-Life 2: Episode 3 to spin-offs that never made it to development. Thanks to some new concept art, at least we know what it could have looked like.

2K developer and Half-Life fan David McGreavy (via Kotaku) has released a selection of never-before-seen images from the long-awaited Half-Life 2: Episode 3 – confirming some previously released plot points – not to mention a game idea, who never saw the light of day.

Although McGreavy never worked on Half-Life 2, he has become an avid collector and has found himself in possession of concept art that gives us a glimpse into the chapter of Half-Life 2 that never came to be.

Back in April, McGreavy teased the never-before-seen artwork when he started cataloging his Valve collection, with new additions from a former Valve employee who wanted to downsize his collection. The immediately most interesting part is the snail-like creature in the top left.

This is “BreenGrub” – a large, snail-like creature that fans will recognize almost immediately from its name. Half-Life 2 villain Dr. Wallace Breen appeared during Half-Life 2 and was seen falling to his death after Gordon Freeman destroyed the reactor at the top of the Citadel. In Episodes 1 and 2, he only appears in flashbacks. Still, it looks like he’s returned in episode 3 after a video recording in episode 2 speaks of a transfer to a “guest body”. It’s just not the kind of host he might have preferred.

The consciousness of the once-human Dr. At the Combine’s behest, Breen was to be transformed into a snail-like creature – a prisoner that would have been found by Alyx and Gordon during the events of Episode 3. How do we do that? do you know that? Well, this gorgeous (but rather crude) concept art confirms a storyline revealed by former Half-Life 2 writer Marc Laidlaw before he left the company in 2016.

The conspiracy revealed by Laidlaw would have seen heroes Alyx and Gordon on their journey to the Borealis – an ever-changing Aperture Science ship coming and going. The Combine, which has built a base around it, has meanwhile transferred Breen’s mind into the aforementioned snail-like creature… and asks Alyx and Gordon to kill him.

Although Laidlaw has claimed that his version of events is “0% official” after leaving the company, it’s nonetheless a fascinating insight into what could have been.

In addition, McGreavy released scans of other concept art for Half-Life 2: Episode 3, which includes post-apocalyptic vistas and a coastline covered in debris.

However, the two concept arts showing Alyx Vance and robotic companion Dog are not from Episode 3 at all. Instead, McGreavy told Kotaku that these are part of a spin-off attempt that is both Half-Life 2: Episode 3 and would have been completely separate from the never-released Half-Life 3.

We can only guess what this fork might have been for.

Half-Life 2 was a milestone in game development, with the IGN review stating, “It sets the standard in all areas, particularly in its use of physics as a gameplay tool and not just a visual treat for players.” It followed two additional episodes, with a cliffhanger for a third, but it wasn’t until 2020 that Valve told us why episode three was never made.

Since then we’ve gotten the incredible VR-only game Half-Life: Alyx, but we’re still waiting for an official Half-Life 3. Several versions of the game have been abandoned, but we may be closer than ever – the developers at Valve have said they want to make more games in the series.

Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. you can follow him Twitter.

https://www.ign.com/articles/half-life-concept-art-unreleased-spin-off-episode-3 Unseen Half-Life concept art released – including a spin-off that never came out

Isaiah Colbert

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