- What happened to Gordon Freeman's infant daughter? Best not to dwell on it.
- Not his daughter, but one of the devs' daughter that was merely put in the game as a cheeky easter egg. Though, if we're going to the conclusion that the photo of the girl in the locker was some sort of blood-relative in-universe, we better do as Gordon does. Not think about it.
- The ending of Half-Life 2 Episode 2, where Eli Vance is killed by a Combine Advisor. Made particularly tragic in that his last words are to tell his daughter to look away. Alyx's heartbroken sobbing, begging her dad not to leave her as the screen goes dark and the credits begin crawling, doesn't help matters either.
- The fate of the rebels Sandy and Lazlo. If you manage to save Sandy, then he tells you to go on ahead, and that there's "something [he] has to do". The Tear Jerker is the fact that it sounds awfully like he's going to follow after his friend; it's entirely likely he was just going to bury Lazlo's body, though.
- The uncertain fate of Shephard. Somewhere, he's still stuck in Limbo.
- The fates of Shephard's fellow Marines throughout Opposing Force isn't any less sad. Many are unceremoniously killed by either the two alien factions and the Black Ops in the hellhole that was Black Mesa, while others Shephard was forced to leave behind to an Uncertain Doom. All of this at a point where all they wanted to do was get out alive and in one piece. It's especially painful to watch when you also realize that many were possibly Shephard's close friends, practically the people he's been with since basic training, whom he likely shared very close bonds with.
- The Nihilanth is the last of his kind, after his entire species has been murdered by the Combine. Imagine how alone he must feel after losing anyone he (potentially) cared about. Killing him and thus rendering his species extinct is a depressing thought.
- Fan content, but still sad and beautiful. Compounded by one of the video's comments:A requiem.For Winston, Lazlo, Eli Vance, and the rebel casualties in the war against the Combine.For the billions of people killed by the Universal Union. For the civilization that took 10,000 years to build...and took 7 hours to be annihilated.A requiem for humanity. A salute to the fallen. May the war go on, until humanity is free...or extinct.
- The crowbar gets incinerated at the beginning of the last chapter of Half-Life 2. It's a tragic way to lose a trusty companion.
- This fan made video is particularly poignant and sad.
- On August 25th, 2017, the 21st anniversary of Valve, Marc Laidlaw shared the whole story of Half-Life 2: Episode 3 on his official site, initially disguised as Fan Fiction with genderswapped characters and different names, but mirrored on other sites with edits that restored the Half-Life characters and names. It is incredibly sad to read, as it all but officially confirmed that Half-Life is done.
"It has been a circuitous path to lands I once knew, and surprising to see how much the terrain has changed. Enough time has passed that few remember me, or what I was saying when last I spoke, or what precisely we hoped to accomplish. At this point, the resistance will have failed or succeeded, no thanks to me. Old friends have been silenced, or fallen by the wayside. I no longer know or recognize most members of the research team, though I believe the spirit of rebellion still persists. I expect you know better than I the appropriate course of action, and I leave you to it. Expect no further correspondence from me regarding these matters; this is my final episode."
- The final part implies that Gordon ends up on Earth so far into the future that few even remember his name or his deeds, and he is uncertain if the resistance even won the war...or it could be a reflection on the current state of Valve, and how Half-Life has been forgotten by the very studio who had created it. In any case, it is depressing.
"Yours in infinite finality,Gordon Freeman, Ph.D"
- The fact that this is both the first time that we hear Gordon speak and the last.
- While it's not 100% clear, another thing that is sad about this leaked story is it appears Alyx Vance would become much colder. She appears considerably less forgiving, especially toward Judith Mossman. After seeing her be very cheerful and optimistic in the previous games, it's sad that it appears the death of her father finally breaks her. There's also her leaving with the G-Man; it's not clear if she willingly leaves Gordon knowing his fate or not. Makes it even sadder considering all they've been through.
- Marc Laidlaw posted the story on the 21st anniversary of Valve. The series that proved to be Valve's Breakthrough Hit and influences first-person shooters to this day, that fans waited a decade for the resolution of after the Cliffhanger ending of Episode 2, ends on a blog post from its retired writer.
- The fandom has started making many videos that re-create what Laidlaw put out in his blog post using SFM, many showcasing what the ending could've been. This one is so incredibly epic and accurate, that you can only wonder what it would've been like to see this happen in the game.
- Tying into this, Marc had once made a twitter account named simply "BreenGrub", wherein Breen is revealed to be feeding the resistance information from his new base of operations... and he truly believed he was doing what would keep humanity alive. The twitter describes his existence as he's transferred from host body to host body, attempting to inform the people of earth, or anyone who will listen about the Combine's true nature. But he can feel his mind slowly fragmenting every time he's transferred to a new host, and at this point doesn't even consider himself a living being anymore. Partway into his ramblings, he is interrupted... and his host body briefly used to fool people into sharing their locations in private to add to the Combine's masses. When he regains consciousness, all he can muster is a horrified "oh no"
- While the above-mentioned tearjerker was rendered false by the release of Half-Life: Alyx, which confirms that the story is far from over, it ends on its own note of tragedy: The G-Man allows Alyx to change the timeline and save Eli by killing the Advisor herself, but then he takes her away against her protests to serve him in place of Gordon, whom he no longer finds suitable. The very last scene, from Gordon's perspective, shows Eli alive and outraged over what has happened, cursing out the G-Man and vowing to kill him for using and kidnapping Alyx. It does end on a note of hope, though, with D0G returning Gordon's crowbar and Eli declaring they have work to do.
- Alyx spends a lot of time driving home just how far human civilization fell after the Seven Hour War. The younger generations have little to no knowledge of what life was like before; Alyx is a brilliant young woman, but Russell still has to explain simple concepts like animal husbandry and stock markets like one would to a child (when she's nineteen years old) simply because she has no frame of reference for the basic luxuries of modern life. You spend most of the game traversing the ruins of entire city blocks, moving through empty, decaying buildings whose inhabitants either died or fled long ago. Places that are inhabited are dirty and run-down, just barely maintained by a listless, fearful population that is shrinking day by day as the Combine abuse and exploit them, the only ones spared being those who sell themselves out to the alien occupiers in mind, body, and soul. The environment is being plundered of all its resources, leaving nothing but the bare minimum left over for citizens. And of course, the Suppression Field is still up by this point, so there's no more children being born. This is the fate of humanity without Gordon Freeman; a slow, pathetic walk into irrelevance and extinction as incomprehensible invaders pump our world dry simply because they can.
Tear Jerker / Half-Life