Nobody needs an excuse to talk about Half-Life 3. Normally, that might be fine—it's just hype!—but damn if the desire for an official announcement can't get out of hand sometimes.
Yesterday, we wrote about a patch on Steam that made some copies of Half-Life 2 suddenly feature Korean audio. As far as we can tell, despite being kind of random, it was a mistake which Valve then fixed. No biggie, although as you might expect, fans freaked out. You could visit any forum and see conspiracy threads—but it wasn't just because of the update.
There is also an issue of PC Gamer which caused speculation to run amok, as it features an article on Valve. The back of the magazine tends to have something that's just for kicks, and to this end, the Valve issue of PC Gamer made a Half-Life 3 joke. This is the gag:
Except, you cannot joke about Half-Life 3. People will think you're being serious and freak out! Conspiracy theories will blossom. Though PC Gamer set the record straight on that today with a post explaining what happened. They write:
Every month we close off with something that we hope will make our readers laugh, and it’s usually based on the feature on the cover. For this issue, we thought we’d make fun of Valve.
The result was a fake elevator control panel with funny names for various floors in their building. Following yesterday’s Half-Life 2 patch, a lot of people have become convinced that it’s all part of an elaborate scheme to reveal the long-awaited sequel.
It’s not. It’s a joke, in the part of the magazine where we do jokes. It was written by me and designed by one of our art editors, Julian. Here’s Julian’s desk and the InDesign file.
There’s no significance to the crossed-out entry for ‘Half-Life 3 Development’ being on floor 13 beyond the fact that American buildings tend not to have a 13th floor. The fact that it’s crossed-out and that someone has replaced it with ‘FPS developer terrarium’ was intended to be so silly that nobody would take the suggestion seriously.
Of course, I'm sure it wont be long until folks find more 'evidence' of a Half-Life 3 announcement.