Trivia / Half-Life

  • Ascended Fanon: One of the scientists from the original Half-Life is one who wears thick glasses and has white hair on the sides of his head. On 1999, a fansite called "Super Half-Life" adopted this character as a mascot for a weekly feature, called Walter's World, with the protagonist being Walter Bennett, written by the founder of the site Kevin "Fragmaster" Bowen. It turns out Gearbox and Valve liked this character and thus, on Opposing Force and Blue Shift, Walter was directly mentioned by name on each game, becoming canon within the Half-Life franchise.
  • Fan Nickname: The Vortigaunt who accompanies you through parts of Episode Two has no official name. Naturally, he was nicknamed Cecil.
  • Follow the Leader: The first game caused first-person shooters to shift away from "Doom clones" and towards story-driven narratives and immersive environments. The second game popularized physics as a key gameplay element and characters with believable facial animation. More directly, Halo would have its own "headcrab zombies" in the form of The Flood,note  and the expansion pack for Doom 3 features an Expy of the second game's Gravity Gun. The series also popularized the Heroic Mime trope for first-person shooter characters.
  • Name's the Same: Adrian Shephard from Opposing Force has nothing to do with that other Shepard.
  • No Export for You: Half-Life 2: Survivor, an arcade game based off of Half-Life 2, co-developed by Valve and Taito. It's Japan-exclusive as well as being the only Half-Life game Japan ever got. No, nothing else from Valve counts. However, fan-made ports for the PC exist as Survivor was shut down years ago and is considered Abandonware.
  • Sampled Up: A good chunk of the soundtrack and even some sound effects throughout the series were taken from sample libraries, as these videos demonstrate.
  • Schedule Slip: Half-Life 2: Episode 3 (or perhaps by now, Half-Life 3) is one of the biggest contenders. From January 2017, it has been nearly 10 years since Episode 2 came out and ended on a cliffhanger, practically promising Episode 3, which is very close to beating out Prey (2006) and Diablo 3 for some of the longest development times (11 years), and just a few years from surpassing the 14 year Development Hell of Duke Nukem Forever.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: ''Jungle Drums'' contains a few eerie woodwind stings that sound remarkably like King Ramses' leitmotif.
  • Shrug of God: Marc Laidlaw is very ambiguous about some parts of the overall continuity. Not only towards the things added on by the Gearbox expansions, but also when it comes to Valve's own games.
    The whole issue of canon is something the fans came up with. I guess you will be able to identify as canon those story elements we continue to build on and develop and mention repeatedly as the story progresses. Others might fall by the wayside once they've served their purpose. Couldn't you say the same of us all?
  • Trope Namers:
  • Vaporware: Common with this series (and even more so for Team Fortress 2, though it did finally get released). Fans have been waiting for Half-Life 2: Episode Three note  for so long that it's become a source of videogame-culture running gags, and every bit of Valve-related news will include comments like "But what about Episode Three?" and "Wait: [a convoluted chain of "logic" like a parody of a Conspiracy Theory]...HALF LIFE 3 CONFIRMED!"
    • To put it in numbers: 2 was released in 2004, almost exactly six years after the original in 1998. Episode One had a much quicker turnaround, taking only two years to get a 2006 release. Episode Two came out only a year after, in 2007; this would normally be considered an aversion if the original schedule wasn't "every few months". As of 2017, Episode Three is still unaccounted for, has likely been restarted from scratch multiple times, and is ten years and counting since the release of Episode Two, surpassing the nine years Team Fortress 2 spent in development and becoming a serious contender to equal or exceed Duke Nukem Forever and its infamously long 14-year development span.
    • Further frustrating the fanbase is Valve's complete refusal to speak about the game, and they rarely acknowledge the franchise even exists beyond the occasional off-hand mention in interviews or an Easter Egg in their other games. Combined with the news of series writer Marc Laidlaw's departure from Valve at the start of 2016 and fellow Valve writers Erik Wolpaw and Chet Faliszek leaving in 2017, fans are increasingly convinced that Valve has no further interest in the series and is letting it quietly die.
  • What Could Have Been: Marc Laidlaw has shared the entire plot of Half Life 2: Episode 3 on his website on August 25th, 2017. For legal NDA reasons, he's changed the names, and titles (Episode 3, becomes Epistle 3, Vortigaunts becomes Ghastlygaunts, Eli Vance the father of Alyx, is now Elly Vance, the mother of Alex, and the Combine becomes the Disparate, the Borealis becomes Hyperborea)
    • In short, Gordon and Alyx manage to board the Borealis, which carries a device that is constantly transporting the ship through space and time. They realize they can use the ship as a weapon against the Combine and decide to drop it on the Combine homeworld. As the ship is about to explode, Alyx is whisked away by the G-man while the Vortigaunts rescue Gordon and return him to Earth. The story ends on a Gainax Ending, as Alyx is missing, possibly Lost Forever, and Gordon worries the weaponized Borealis won't be nearly enough to stop the Combine but before he sees the explosion, the Vortigaunts come and save him and transport to an indeterminate time in the future, where the fate of the Resistance is an Ambiguous Situation but the post-apocalyptic earth has seen some recovery and Gordon is entirely lonely, and enough time has passed that the Living Legend Icon of Rebellion has been utterly forgotten.
    • Gordon Freeman originally looked more like a grizzly biker.