Half-Life writer Marc Laidlaw has published what appears to be a proposed plot summary for strong vapourware candidate Half-Life 2: Episode 3.
Laidlaw retired from Valve last year after almost two decades with the company, stating at the time that "where Valve may choose to take Half-Life in the future is not in my hands. I have been a grateful co-creator, but my time working on the series is behind me."
The summary was published on his personal blog with names from the Half-Life universe slightly tweaked – for example, Gordon Freeman is "Gertrude Fremont".
On Twitter, Laidlaw called the summary "fanfic" and "a genderswapped snapshot of a dream I had many years ago", and implied that the existence of his summary didn't mean the Half-Life series was dead.
"There are lots of unproduced Alien scripts. The fact they weren't developed did not spell the end of the Alien franchise," he tweeted.
He also addressed the relationship between the G-Man and Alex Vance: "That is something Valve might still want to develop, flesh out and explain someday. I had no fixed ideas about this. Just planting seeds".
Regarding a fan theory that the G-Man is a Nihilanth, he wrote: "lol, that Nihilanth/G-Man thing was my whole last week. Doesn't the Nihilanth warn you about the G-Man? Never occurred to me...but who knows."
Two days after publishing the summary, he tweeted the following:
Epistolary Afterthoughts: The map is not the territory. A sketch is only a starting point. Everything changes as you try to make it real...
Everyone who works on it will have ideas, and new opportunities will appear and change everything...
But even on a story level, you will find as you get closer that some things just won't work. Would Alex really shoot and kill Jerry Maas?...
Is that too harsh? What if Alex pushed Jerry into a timeloop or portal bubble instead, leaving his fate open?...
Is there a role in all this for the former security guard Bernadette? What about cAT?...
What if the final explosion powers a huge timeloop singularity that puts Gertrude back on the Green Valley Science Factory Inbound Train... ...and it all never happened? ...or is about to happen again?
Also, how do you tell it? Do you start on the Hyperborea and have physical timeloops that function as flashbacks? How would that work?
Do you start with glimpses of a Dispar interrogation cell? Do you hint the entire experience is provoked fantasy as a means of getting info?
Or is a straightforward linear experience the most satisfying? It takes a team to work this stuff out. Vignettes are easy.
And then what do you do if the brilliant actress who plays Wanda Bree...dies?
A report earlier this year claimed that Episode 3 could have been an RTS or a live action game.