The departure of writer Marc Laidlaw from developer Valve in 2016 seemed to shut the door on the possibility, but there’s hope that Half-Life 3 is on the way. However, it may not look the same as Laidlaw’s vision of what the next chapter would have been.
Conveniently, Laidlaw put out a fan-fiction missive in 2017 that is a thinly veiled reference to his potential version of Half-Life 3‘s plot. If you change the remarkably similar names to the Half-Life characters they resemble, you’ll learn that the Combine saved a backup of Dr. Breen’s consciousness into a grub. In Laidlaw’s story, he begs Freeman and friends to kill him.
Freeman then launches a last-ditch attack on the Combine. Laidlaw writes, “The vastness of the [Combine’s] power, the futility of our struggle, blossomed briefly in my awareness. I saw everything. Mainly I saw how the [Borealis], our most powerful weapon, would register as less than a fizzling matchhead as it blew itself apart. And what remained of me would be even less than that.”
Dr. Breen, who negotiated the surrender of humans because he thought humanity wasn’t advanced enough to defeat the Combine? He was right.