Former Valve writer Marc Laidlaw has posted a fictional letter on his site that sure reads like a possible plot summary for Half-Life 2: Episode 3.
Laidlaw joined Valve in the 1990s, and announced his departure from the company in January 2016. In that time he worked on the story for Half-Life 1, Half-Life 2 and both the latter game’s episodic sequels.
Earlier this evening, Laidlaw tweeted:
That link led to a letter written by “Gertie Fremont”, and features stuff like a ship called the “Hyperborea” and alien bad guys called the “Disparate”.
Swap those out for actual Half-Life names and places (Gordon Freeman, the Borealis and Combine, etc) and you’ve got what certainly appears to be a summary of events that could have taken place after the end of Half-Life 2: Episode 2.
Whether it’s a “final” plot outline from an attempt to actually develop Episode 3, a potential storyline that was competing against others or just some notes scribbled down on paper, we don’t know. Though Laidlaw did later tweet:
Laidlaw’s personal site has crashed from the pressure of people wanting to read it, “snapshot of a dream” or not, but there’s a version on pastebin that has “translated” the original, with the correct characters and locations inserted over the top of Laidlaw’s bogus labels.
The tl;dr short version of the full letter (which you can read here) is this:
Gordon and Alyx head for Antarctica, resting place of the Borealis, the research ship mentioned at the end of Episode 2. They’re shot down as they approach, though, and find that surrounding the ship is an enormous Combine base, inside which the Borealis is continually flickering in and out of existence.
After an encounter with Dr. Breen—whose consciousness had been transplanted into an alien slug’s body, allowing him to survive the demise of his human body in Episode 2—Gordon, Alyx and Dr. Mossman (who you rescue from a Combine prison) manage to board the Borealis, and while there are pulled across both space and time, seeing things like the Seven Hour War, alien worlds the Combine were about to conquer and even the ship’s origins at Aperture.
Following a dispute over what to do with the ship (Mossman argues for keeping the ship, Alyx wants to honour her father’s wish to destroy it), Alyx shoots Mossman dead, and commits Gordon to a plan to drive the ship into the heart of the Combine’s “invasion nexus”.
Before it can strike, though, the G-Man arrives, speaks with Alyx and the pair depart, leaving Gordon alone to drive the ship on its suicide mission. Just as its about to hit its target, the Vortigaunts open a portal and save Gordon, dropping him on a shore where he isn’t certain of what year it is or how the war against the Combine has ended.
And...that’s where it wraps, Freeman writing “Except no further correspondence from me regarding these matters; this is my final episode.”
Interestingly, if you go back and look at some concept art that leaked in 2012, you’ll see images showing a crashed helicopter in a snowy location, with what could easily be Gordon and Alyx (who also features in the art in winter clothing) in the frame.
UPDATE: Here’s a note on the ending: