Half-Life writer Marc Laidlaw has left Valve to work on own projects

Half-Life 3 confirmed? Not by Marc Laidlaw. The Half-Life writer has announced his retirement from Valve.

It's time to stop asking Marc Laidlaw about Half-Life 3

The famed sci-fi author, writer of Half-Life and Half-Life 2, and lead writer for Half-Life 2: Episode 1 and Episode 2 has retired from Valve.

His retirement was confirmed in an e-mail exchange between Laidlaw and a fan, posted on the Half-Life subreddit. Redditor TeddyWolf e-mailed the writer to ask the now-ages-old question, "What about Half-Life 3?" 

He probably didn't expect a reply, but he got one. In it, Laidlaw offered a brief explanation for his decision to leave Valve:

"There are many reasons, most of them personal. An outwardly obvious reason is that I'm old, or anyway oldish. My nickname when I first started at Valve in 1997 was 'old man Laidlaw'. The little baby level designer who gave me that that nickname is now older than I was then. Imagine how much older I am! I had the unbelievable luck to fall in with the kids at Valve when they could have just dismissed me as an old fogey who didn't know s**t about videogames. The only Zelda I'd ever heard of was F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife. They taught me everything. I had a good run but lately I have been feeling a need for a break from the collaborative chaos of game production, and a return to more self-directed writing projects."

Sorry. Nope. Still not confirmed.

So what does this mean for the future of Half-Life 3? Laidlaw can't say. He knows he'll always have fond memories of and a relationship with the folks at Valve, but he'll no longer be a part of the development of any Valve projects. As he says in the letter, "Where Valve may choose to take Half-Life in the future is not in my hands."

If you're a fan of Laidlaw's work, however, take heart - while he's not writing for Valve (or any other game developer), Laidlaw says he will more than likely return to writing stories of his own, calling this his "default setting."

Is this the final nail in the coffin for Half-Life 3, or do you think another writer could take up the mantle? Are you hoping the game will still have a future, or do you think it's time to let go of the Half-Life 3 dream? Let us know in the comments.


Jessa wears a lot of hats - anthropology graduate, mother, obsessive book nerd, writer of both fiction and non-fiction - but her favorite hat is that of the gamer - a hat she's worn since owning an Atari was a "big deal."

Published Jan. 8th 2016
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    They've probably had the story for HL3 done for 10 years.
  • Jessa Rittenhouse
    I wouldn't be surprised. Not sure why they'd sit on it, though, considering the popularity of the series and how much everyone seems to want HL3 to happen.
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    I think it's very similar to why Blizzard hasn't made Warcraft 4 yet. We can all pretty much assume it will happen one day, but they are waiting for that right time to strike.
  • Steven Oz
    Featured Contributor
    Half-Life 3 confirmed ;)
  • Jessa Rittenhouse
    Is that what we can take from this? Awesome. :p
  • Pierre Fouquet
    Featured Correspondent
    Was expecting "...collaborative chaos of game production..." to end in "...collaborative chaos of Valve..."

    But hey, let's just hope he finished writing HL3 before he left.

    Looking forward to his books. I never knew who write HL3, because I'm one of 'those guys' who doesn't read credits. I know creative directors and some composers but not many other people... but now I know who wrote HL3, I will probably go and find some of his books.
  • Jessa Rittenhouse
    I haven't read any of his fiction, but here's a bibliography I found on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Laidlaw#Bibliography Before Half-Life, he wrote sci-fi and horror.

    Might have to give it a look, as I've seen from the Half-Life series that he's a great creative writer.

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