Half-Life 2: Episode 2 Just Got a New Achievement, Because Gabe Newell Is Shooting A Gnome Into Space

Gnome Chompski, as he appears in Half-Life 2: Episode 2
Gnome Chompski, as he appears in Half-Life 2: Episode 2
Screenshot: Valve

That’s a headline.

In case you weren’t already aware, Valve Software boss Gabe Newell has been hunkered down in New Zealand for most of the year after the country closed its borders to help stop the spread of Covid.

While there, he’s been working, but also doing other stuff. The latest of which is teaming up with WETA (the special effects/art guys), Rocket Lab, and a local charity to fire...a small garden gnome into space.

It’s not just any gnome, of course. It’s a recreation of Gnome Chompski, a garden accessory found in Half-Life: Episode 2 (and later Half-Life: Alyx) that you can carry for most of the game and use to earn a bullshit achievement if you launch it into space. Which leads us nicely to the real video game news of all this: that to coincide with the launch Valve also added a new achievement to Half-Life: Episode 2, called Gnome Alone.


A game that’s 13 years old.

It looks like there’ll also be a second one added should be launch prove successful, called Manufacturing Ascent.

If you’ve got nothing to do later tonight, you should tune into the launch, which is scheduled for 8:44pm ET. Not only is it cool seeing things fired into space from the surface of the planet, but Newell—a very wealthy man—is going to be donating $1 to charity for every person who tunes in.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

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Gaben really has been making the largest of social connections at New Zealand. Reports also say he’s applying for perma-residency too. Just another part of Newell shenanigans.