Half-Life 3: Top 5 Things To Expect
Half-Life 3 is coming. But what can we expect from one of the most anticipated sequels in videogame history?
5. Source Engine 2.0
The Source engine is long in the tooth. “Ah, yes 360 Magazine, this one is indeed obvious,” you say, “but what can an engine really do beyond make things look better?” Peter Molyneux said recently, “the next next-generation of consoles will enable us to create virtual world that are indistinguishable from the real world.” To us, this seems like a pretty obvious piece of conjecture, but more importantly it’s not photorealistic graphics that excite us about next-generational potential, it’s advanced behaviours.
Ultimately, you can tart up the graphics as much as you like, but if the physical world isn’t behaving as it should, it’s little more than a shiny plastic demi-reality – a cheap knock-off moulded in some East Asian sweatshop.
With Half-Life 2, Valve adopted Havok physics to take care of water, smoke, explosive, compressive and gravitational behaviours, and while in some instances this appeared to do a fairly decent job, take a look at what Havok physics are capable of now and just bear in mind that all that’s holding this technology back is the small problem of not having a platform with the necessary power to run it commercially – something that will no longer be the case come the next console generation. Enjoy.
4. Xbox 720, PS4
This, to us, seems pretty obvious too. With the best evidence pointing to an announcement of Half-Life 3 at E3 2012 and the best evidence we have of a new Xbox being announced at precisely the same time, one only has to put two and two together to make four. This will not preclude a scaled-back version arriving for Xbox 360 and PS3. To cut off your game from over a hundred million installed users is not a decision even Valve would dare to make.
Those with long memories may remember Half-Life 2 appearing for the original Xbox back in late 2005. The game, believe it or not, hit the console just one week before the launch of the Xbox 360, a console that then had to wait another two years before it would receive its own version of the game. When looking at what a developer/publisher is likely to do in the future, you really only need look to the past. Here, since we suspect Half-Life 3 to be primarily a next-gen offering, the timeline would be: PC version to launch alongside the Half-Life 3 equivalent of the chuggy old Xbox version of Half-Life 2 (for 360, PS3), followed by a wait for the official next-gen console version, which will then shat all over the PC version sometime towards the end of 2013. It’s Valve’s thing. It’s what it does.
The closing moments of Half-Life 2 – in which we witness Freeman’s next mission objective (a massive Aperture Laboratories shipping vessel) – made one thing abundantly clear: Portal exists in the same universe as Half-Life and the two franchises are about to collide. So what could this mean in terms of Half-Life’s classic gameplay?
Well, what happens when you mix next-generation physically modelled water (as opposed to the current generation’s surface effect), with portals? Fire a portal at the bottom of a lake and another into a room full of guards and you have but one permutation. We expect water and portals to be a big deal in Half-Life 3.
But more than that, apart from the odd sentry bot we really haven’t explored what combat-plus-portal can really accomplish. Sniper on the far balcony? Shoot a portal behind him then crowbar the back of his head while he watches you disappear into some mysterious wibbly-wobbly hole some way distant. Enemies coming up the stairwell? Portal the floor, other end on the outside of the top floor of the nearest skyscraper… done. The possibilities are endless. Expect creative, emergent gameplay that combines the best of both worlds.
He’ll be in, running about in the unshootable, unportalable parts of the background with his friends Deep Throat and Smoking Man. They all hang out together you know? Uni buddies, we heard; attained B.A. (Hons) in ‘mysteriousness’.
1. Ezio Auditore Da Firenze
Soul Calibur V, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Assassin’s Creed. Ezio is everywhere, so we fully expect to see him appear in Half-Life 3. Of course, he and his universe would have to be linked somehow to the Half-Life and Portal universes, but we’re willing to bet that someone, somewhere has already found a way. Perhaps a third party could sponsor said appearance and wrangle a celebrity in to promote it.
This’ll do: a portal in Ezio’s face leading to a place where Roger Daltry bathes in Heinz baked beans. Mad? Yes, but quite frankly no less mad than the plot of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.
Yeah, people’ll buy that. They’ll buy anything.
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