Follow TV Tropes


What Could Have Been / Half-Life

Go To

Between copious amounts of behind the scenes material, leftover game files and several Content Leak events, there’s many, many things known to have been changed or cut throughout the Half-Life series.

  • Early betas of the game used an unmodified Quake I engine. When it became apparent that the engine wasn't going to be able to deliver what the development team wanted, they considered porting the game to the Quake II engine, but after figuring out that it would delay development by too long, they instead started modifying and customizing the Quake engine to suit their needs, eventually ditching about 90% of the original code. The end result was the GoldSrc engine.
  • A number of characters went through redesigns. Gordon's original design originally had a wild, unkempt beard and thicker face going along with a much larger HEV suit that that led to him being dubbed "Ivan the Space Biker". This was refined into a trim goatee and a more form-fitting suit for the final design. Scientists and Security Guards had much more exaggerated faces before being toned down into something more believable.
  • Female scientists were planned, with a story bit involving one betraying Gordon and sending soldiers after him. They were cut due to memory limitations of the limited hardware in 1998, though the base idea would later be realized in Half-Life 2 with Dr. Mossman - who, in a Development Gag, presents herself as a rival to Gordon who he never knew existed.
  • It was originally planned that the Scientists and Security Guards would be hostile toward Gordon, believing him to be responsible for causing the incident. AI tests that had the guards following the player and fighting other enemies greatly appealed to playtesters, and Valve realized they were much more interesting as friendly NPCs.
  • Many enemies were cut from the game, and the ones that made it in often had features cut from the final game.
    • Among the unused enemies were a minigun-wielding Human Sergeant and a Xen enemy dubbed "Mr. Friendly", who would be able to knock off Freeman's glasses and cause his vision to go blurred, which was considered an impressive effect for back then, but cut for being annoying. Also, a proposed idea what that it would kill Freeman by raping him.
    • Another Xen enemy called the Kingpin would have used Psionic abilities to attack and to defend itself against explosives. One setpiece would have had a Kingpin captured and caged by the military, where the player could free it to attack the soldiers. A flying enemy called the Stukabat lasted late into development, enough that it was seen in footage from E3 1998. While both enemies were cut, the assets and code left in the SDK led to both enemies being used in several mods, including Sven Co-op .
    • The Panthereye, a feline-like counterpart to the Houndeye, was cut both due to being redundant and due to engine issues regarding quadrupedal NPCs. Like the Kingpin and Stukabat, its code and assets were in an advanced enough state that several mods were able to restore it.
    • Vortigaunts originally could resurrect dead Vortigaunts using their beam attack. They also had a “bravery” function where they would lose their will to fight if they witnessed too many of their kind be killed. An idea for Xen was that Gordon would end up causing a Vortigaunt revolt, winning them over as allies. While the revolt didn't make the cut for this game, the base idea would later be used in Half-Life 2.
    • Female Assassins have unused animations for melee attacks and were seen armed with Crossbows in promotional material. They still have a quiver attached to their belt in the final game.
  • Dr. Gina Cross was, at one point, intended to be Gordon's spouse and a playable character, with the player choosing between her or Gordon at the start of the game. The character you didn't choose would be an NPC you would encounter and interact with throughout the game, but Valve considered the idea unfeasible at the time and Gina was recycled into the holographic instructor for the Hazard Course, then later became a playable character in Decay.
  • The HEV's features would have been dependent on having battery power available, with features like the HUD, Long Jump module and voice shutting down if the HEV ran out of battery. This was likely deemed annoying as the battery power doubled as the HEV's armor.
    • Enemy attacks and environment hazards could inflict status effects that would have to be treated with special items. There also existed an Adrenaline canister that would have provided a one-use revival upon death. The models for these items still exist within the final game, albeit unused.
    • Cut voice lines exist for the HEV suit announcing the acquisition of new weapons. Interestingly, these sound files indicate that the .357 Magnum was originally a .44 Magnum instead.note  Another cut voice line refers to the Tau Cannon as a "hypervelocity projectile weapon", suggesting it was originally planned to be akin to a railgun instead of an energy weapon.note 
  • The pistol's secondary fire was meant to attach a sound suppressor. It was likely cut for its limited utility. Unused textures show the pistol with a Glock 18's fire selector switch on the slide. Likewise, the Gluon gun had a secondary fire for switching between wide and narrow beams, with narrow beam mode doing less damage but using less ammunition. While the functionality was cut, pressing secondary fire will still play the animation for switching modes.
  • A slew of VOX announcements throughout the facility were cut, as seen in this video. Many of these cuts were likely due to the announcements becoming repetitive.
  • A port for the Dreamcast was in development by Gearbox and actually finished (trailers advertising the port came out a few months before launch), but Sierra On-Line, who was publishing the series at the time, was not pleased with the Dreamcast's sales numbers and pulled the plug just weeks before it was supposed to come out; the game's players guide even made it to shelves before the cancellation. The Dreamcast port was eventually leaked online years later and found to be fully functional, if awkward due to the limitations of the Dreamcast's controller, and fans later released the Dreamcast port as a mod for the PC version of the game.
  • Valve planned a number of multiplayer gamemodes beyond Deathmatch, but were forced to cut them due to time constraints. This video shows remnants of a cut cooperative mode left in the "Subtransit" multiplayer map. A cooperative mode would finally be realized with Half-Life: Decay.

    Half-Life: Opposing Force 
  • Leaked game files show a second vehicle that the Black Ops would have used: a black V-22 Osprey. While it is fully modeled, the final game instead has the Black Ops solely use black M35 trucks to get around.
  • An unused model for a flash grenade weapon is in the files. It is unclear if it was meant to be usable by the player or limited to NPC usage, as it is still seen as gear attached to the Black Ops soldiers in the final game.

    Half-Life: Blue Shift 
  • Originally, Blue Shift was going to be exclusive to the Dreamcast port of Half-Life, similar to how the PS2 version of Half-Life had Decay as a bonus campaign. The Dreamcast port was also to feature remade “High Definition” 3D models to take full advantage of the Dreamcast hardware. After it was canceled, Gearbox and Valve opted to release the Blue Shift campaign and HD models as a PC expansion.

    Half-Life: Decay 

    Half-Life 2 
  • The game's story was constantly changed during development.
    • On top of draining the oceans, the Combine were replacing the atmosphere with poisonous gas that forced humans to wear gas masks. City 17 had darker and more overtly Orwellian styling, with a skyscraper dominated skyline more in line with western cities. Valve felt this didn’t make the Citadel stand out enough, and pursued an eastern European city aesthetic.
    • An early concept had Gordon clad in a leather stealth suit that would have been functionally similar to the HEV but more sinister, with aesthetics inspired by the works of Clive Barker. Combined with other parts of the early storyline, this was deemed to be too far of a departure from the original game.
    • The opening parts of the game had the player passing through locations like Combine factories and the Manhack Arcade, where citizens unknowingly took control of manhacks hunting down refugees under the guise of a video game. While interesting on paper, Valve didn't find these locations appealing enough in gameplay to keep around.
    • Ravenholm originally took place before arriving at Black Mesa East, and the Ravenholm mines would contained a vehicle called the Digger that would have been used to destroy a Gonarch pod used by the Combine to birth headcrabs.
    • Eli was to give an Exposition Dump of the events between the first and second game in the form of a slideshow at his lab.
    • The story also featured arctic locations, such as a Combine weather control center and an icebreaker named the Borealis. These were cut due to pacing and gameplay reasons, with the Borealis later being introduced as an Aperture Science vessel in Episode Two.
  • Characters underwent significant changes:
    • Eli was an old mechanic named Eli Maxwell who was living out of a scrapyard. Alyx's father was originally a white military man named Captain Vance who lead soldiers conscripted by the Combine, who would later revolt and join the Resistance. After the Conscripts were cut, Vance and Maxwell were merged into a single character, with Captain Vance's face model being recycled into a citizen in the final game and a hostage variant in Counter-Strike: Source.
    • Alyx had red hair and wore a jumpsuit with knee-high boots, which Valve felt was too generic and changed her to her current look just before the game was shown at E3. According to Merle Dandridge, Alyx was much more foul-mouthed, but both Merle and Valve felt it didn't fit the character.
    • Odessa Cubbage's face model came from a cut character named Odell, who was the engineer of the Borealis. When the location was cut, the character model went into freefall until a scene with a character demonstrating the RPG came into play. The leaked build shows that the character that would become Odessa was meant to directly attack the Gunship only to be killed, with the player having to pick up the weapon to finish the Gunship off.
    • Dr. Breen was born from The Consul, who was a straightforward Big Brother figure with no ties to the Black Mesa facility. One concept for the Consul had the player only seeing his face throughout most of the game, with The Reveal at the finale that he had his body replaced by a life support machine giving him immortality. He eventually morphed into Dr. Breen in order to have a more personal antagonist. Concepts seen in Raising The Bar show that Valve considered eyeglasses and contact lenses for Dr. Breen.
    • Dr. Kleiner was much older looking (in line with the “Walter” scientist model from the original game), and Valve toyed around with killing him off during the first teleport sequence. His model was changed when Valve employees had a chance run-in with a man who bore a striking resemblance to the “Walter” scientist model. The original Kleiner head, like Captain Vance's face, would be recycled for a hostage variant in Counter-Strike: Source.
    • Dr. Mossman was a blonde-haired woman named Elena Mossman, who worked in an underwater resistance lab named Kraken Base. Helena was more overtly villainous, betraying the Resistance without remorse. After Kraken Base was cut, she was heavily rewritten and the performance of Michelle Forbes encouraged the developers to make Mossman a more sympathetic character.
    • Father Grigori, according to voice files in the leaked build, was a more grim and serious character. An unused model that was leaked in 2016 shows a more stylized face model. He also has unused voice lines suggesting he was to give the player health and ammo.
  • The game's arsenal was originally much larger, as it was envisioned that the player would lose their weapons and gain new ones that would serve the same role throughout the story. Many were cut to give focus to the Gravity Gun, which Valve thought was more interesting.
    • Among them were a number of sub-machine guns and assault rifles, including the AK-47, MP5k (which was seen in the hands of Citizens and Barney during the E3 2003 footage) OICW (which was the Combine’s standard rifle in E3 footage, later replaced by the Pulse Rifle), and the Combine Sniper Rifle (which was a conventional weapon rather than an emplaced pulse weapon as later seen in Episode Two).
    • The Gravity Gun appears to have its origins in the ‘Brickbat’, a weapon used as a means to throw objects and even headcrabs at enemies. Rioting citizens were also meant to make use of this weapon to throw bottles and rocks. The Gravity Gun and the ability to pick up objects by the USE key was the likely reason this was cut, though this weapon is still referenced in the map editor of the final game.
    • The Civil Protection stunstick was meant to be a usable weapon, but was rendered unusable as it was too similar to the Crowbar. The SLAM mine, a weapon that combined the functions of the tripmine and satchel charge from Half-Life, was also cut from the game, though both weapons would become part of Half-Life 2: Deathmatch.
    • The model for the Pulse Rifle was intended for a different weapon called the Incendiary Rifle, which acted like a magazine-fed flare rifle. The model in the final game is still named “v_irifle.mdl”.
    • The arsenal also included tools like a Flare Gun, an Ice Axe, and Binoculars. The Ice Axe would have likely replaced the Crowbar during the Borealis levels. The Binoculars were made into the HEV's zoom function.
    • The Tau Cannon was also planned to be usable by the player while on foot, akin to the original game. Cut voice lines and animations suggest that a Vortigaunt would have decoupled the Tau Cannon from the Buggy either at Lighthouse Point or Nova Prospekt. It was likely cut as determining a plausible source of ammunition (it used depleted uranium in the original game) proved too difficult.
    • One of the weapons in the leaked build was a throwable mine called the Hopwire. Supposedly, this was meant to be an anti-Strider weapon used in the later stages of the game, as it fires out several smaller explosives attached by tripwires after being thrown. This was cut likely for being too indirect and inefficient of a weapon.
    • Interestingly, the .357 Magnum and Crossbow are two weapons not present in the original stolen build, indicating they were added late into development.
  • A large number of enemies were axed.
    • Among them were returning enemies from the first game, such as the Bullsquid, Houndeye, and a Combine version of the Black Ops Assassin. The Bullsquid would have been reimagined as a more aquatic creature behaving like a crocodile, while the Houndeye was to be more aggressive with a Lean and Mean appearance caused by hunger.
    • The Ichthyosaur was meant to be appear along with the leeches as a “border patrol” to keep the player from swimming too far out in the coastline. It was ultimately reduced to a mere cameo during the teleport sequence.
    • The Hydra, which was featured in the debut E3 trailer, was cut as playtesters found it frustrating to fight against despite its impressive looks and technical wizardry (it used only a few animations, with most of its movements being handled by code).
    • The Combine Guard was a heavy human synth enemy who could only be damaged by launched objects from the Gravity Gun, an idea that would be explored with Episode Two's Hunter enemy.
    • The Cremator, who was effectively a Combine janitor that used a flamethrower-like weapon to dissolve trash. While cut, its head was used as a prop in Eli's lab. Two early synth enemies that were cut, the Crab and Mortar synth, were reused in the background of the Citadel podride scene.
    • Stalkers were meant to be fought throughout the game. The leaked build has the Stalker using vastly different AI and attacks than the version later fought in Episode One.
    • The Combine Elite was originally a soldier using dynamic Predator-style camouflage to blend into any environment. After it was cut, it became a bipedal synth called the Combine Super Soldier, who lasted late enough to have its model viewer icon in the final game. It was cut when Valve felt its design clashed with the Citadel's architecture and they opted for a pallette swap of the regular Combine Soldier in its place.
  • The Combine APC was originally intended to be driveable by the player. Playtesters found that its slow movement was unsatisfying compared to the Buggy, and so it was relegated to NPC usage only. Before Valve came up with the Airboat, the vehicle intended for the Canals sections was a Jet Ski. It was replaced due to feeling too much like running around on-foot, as well as having a poor reference as to where the front was while driving and looking around. The Airboat itself went through a number of visual redesigns due to severe motion sickness issues during playtests.
  • Robin Williams, a fan of the series, was interested in voicing the Vortigaunts, but his schedule wouldn't let him.

    Half-Life 2: Episode One 
  • Episode One was originally titled Half-Life 2: Aftermath before Valve decided on the Episodic release model.
  • A test weapon called the Vortex Hopwire exists within the files, acting as a grenade that generates a black hole that draws in and disintegrates anything in range. Its code suggests it was meant to be an anti-Strider weapon, the concept of which would be realized in Episode Two's Magnusson Device.
  • Unused GMan dialogue suggests the intro scene was longer, with the unused lines having him display a more severe reaction to the Vortigaunts' rescue of Gordon. Given that the unused lines have him swearing and uncharacteristically upset, they were likely cut for being out of character and unintentionally humorous.

    Half-Life 2: Episode Two 
  • The Muscle Car was originally the Jalopy, which had a much more ramshackle and junky design. That was changed when playtesters were disappointed with it.
  • Early trailers showed Alyx "dying" by falling off the bridge at the very beginning, but Valve quickly saw it was an awkward way to start out and a deeply unsatisfying way to remove Alyx from the beginning of the game, and changed the intro to its current form.
  • Griggs and Sheckley were originally Cyril and Fred, who were mechanics that had built the Muscle Car. After they were reworked into an Abbott and Costello-style comedic duo, they were intended to die early in the fight against the Antlions, but that changed when playtesters became confused and overwhelmed during the fight.
    • According to Earl Alexander (Left 4 Dead's Louis), he did voice work for Griggs but was replaced in the final game. Unused Episode Two files from a leaked build of Postal 3 includes some of Earl Alexander's voice work, though it only consists of generic Rebel lines and no lines specific to Griggs.
  • A section in the Antlion tunnels had a choice of two paths where one path would progress and the other would loop back around and dump you back where you started. This got removed after they watched one playtester spend over half an hour taking this path over and over again, never realizing they were going in circles.
  • Valve strongly considered bringing back the Bullsquid enemy, but ultimately felt that it didn't fit the forest settings of the game. Most of its features were instead given to the Antlion Worker.
  • The original draft didn't feature Dr. Magnusson, instead simply having Eli and Kleiner running White Forest by themselves. The team quickly realized how implausible it was that Eli and Kleiner could travel there and set it up in less than a day, and the creation of Magnusson also allowed them to provide a bit of antagonism among the heroes, as Alyx, Eli and Kleiner get along very well.
  • Early videos of the final battle had large numbers of Combine soldiers, Gunships, and Dropships alongside the Hunters and Striders. Everything but the Hunters and Striders were removed when playtesters felt overwhelmed and lost track of the objective.
  • The Final Hours of Half-Life: Alyx states that when the decision was made to kill off a member of the main cast, they originally considered Dr. Kleiner for the axe. They ultimately felt Eli's death would have a more emotional impact, especially with his connection with Alyx.

    Half-Life 2: Episode Three 
  • After his retirement from game development, Marc Laidlaw has shared the entire plot 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, the Combine made a backup of Breen's consciousness before he died at the Citadel and transferred it into the grub body of a Combine Advisor. Breen ultimately found no pleasure in his current predicament and begged Gordon to Mercy Kill him. His final fate is left unstated. Gordon, Judith and Alyx manage to board the Borealis, which carries a device that is constantly transporting the ship through space and time. Alyx realizes they can use the ship as a weapon against the Combine. Judith, who attempts to preserve the ship for its technology, is killed by Alyx. As the ship is about to be sent to the Combine homeworld, Alyx is whisked away by the G-Man, who now considers her a more worthy agent than Gordon, while Gordon realizes that the ship will be ineffective against the mighty Dyson sphere the Combine have. Before he is consumed by the explosion, Vortigaunts arrive and rescue Gordon. An epiloguenote  shows Gordon on Earth in an indeterminate time in the future, where the fate of the Resistance is an Ambiguous Situation but the planet has seen some recovery and enough time has passed that the Living Legend Icon of Rebellion has been forgotten.
    • Laidlaw was, however, quick to point out that if the game did get off the ground, the story would've likely gone through multiple revisions. If it is ever picked back up, it almost certainly won't share the same plot.

    Half-Life: Alyx 
  • The game's initial story, playtested in late 2018, was significantly different and darker. The Combine's oppression was far more overt, with dead Vortigaunts being openly displayed in the streets and citizens openly fearful of the Combine, while Alyx and Eli's relationship was strained. Playtesters gave a negative reception to the storyline for its low energy and bleak tone, causing Valve to bring in Eric Wolpaw and Jay Pinkerton along with Campo Santo's Sean Vanaman to rewrite the story and dialogue in 2019.
    • The character that became Russell started as Lazlo (apparently intended to be the same character from Half-Life 2’s Sandtraps chapter), envisioned as a “kooky uncle” to Alyx. Over time, the character evolved into Jozef, a “Swedish Punk Rocker” whose hideout was in a firehouse, before eventually becoming Russell. His radio dialogue with Alyx was added in the final year of development in order to address issues with the lack of narrative energy in the game. The filename for Russell's character model in the final game is still lazlo.mdl.
    • A character named Hahn would have factored into the plot as the main antagonist, a Combine loyalist who had her brain replaced. She would have forced Eli to read Combine propaganda over the city screens after his capture, broadcasting his torture when he refused. Unused voice lines in the game's files have a British accent for the character. Rewrites ultimately cut her from the story, though she was partially reused in the forms of Olga's face model and the shadow figure seen speaking about the G-Man. Word of God is that the identity of the shadow character is being held back for potential future plot points in the series, suggesting that some of these ideas may be revisited in the future.
    • There was at least one Breencast planned as a Combine propaganda take on the Seven Hours War (with placeholder voice files left in the day one build), and an idea was discussed where Breen would have a brief appearance after Eli and Alyx's capture in the first chapter. Dr. Kleiner was also considered to make an appearance as well, and went as far as a prototype 3D model before he was dropped from the game.
    • The Vortigaunt that became Gary was originally found near-death, with Alyx having to feed him hearts from dead headcrabs to sustain him. Playtests found this sequence to be boring and repetitive, and so was heavily reworked to be more humorous and energetic.
    • Jeff was originally envisioned as a damaged Combine robot wielding a machine gun and later a flamethrower, with his final mutated Plant Person look coming about as the developers leaned into the horror aspects of the level.
      • Furthermore, there were originally more direct interactions with Jeff, like needing to steal a keycard from his pocket to open a door or needing to hang items off his uniform to pass through barriers, but these were removed, likely because they didn't playtest well.
      • Early versions of the Jeff chapter had you fighting Combine soldiers as well, which can be seen briefly in the trailer, but this detracted too much from the horror aspect of the encounter and thus was removed.
      • Larry was added to the Jeff chapter late in development to better explain the game mechanics and to provide the story with more characters to interact with.
    • The ending went through some of the most significant alterations of the entire story. The initial end goal of freeing G-Man was so that he could summon Gordon Freeman and start the events of Half-Life 2, but this was eventually deemed too low in stakes and writers began pursuing other ideas. One idea had Alyx dropping into Black Mesa and stopping Gordon from causing the Resonance Cascade, but this was deemed too radical. A sequence of Alyx following the G-Man through a series of red doors portraying locations from other Half-Life games was also considered.
    • Another idea involved the G-Man handing out “business cards” with a single word printed on them. Various characters throughout the game would give these cards to Alyx, with the G-Man giving a final card to Alyx before returning her to the beginning of the game, where she would read out the cards to Eli, saving him from being captured and preventing the events of the game from occurring. A variation of the idea had Alyx killing Hahn to prevent Eli's capture.
    • When it was decided to have the ending revisit the final moments of Episode Two, a full re-creation was planned opposed to the fragments seen in the final game. Remnants of this still exist: The trailer has Eli say the line "Close your eyes, honey!" in voice-over, and the game's files contain a full animation of Gordon standing up from a prone position and putting his glasses on. Part of the animation was used in the game during the ending.
  • Enemies:
    • The game files contain references to many enemies from previous games; including rollermines, hopper mines, fast headcrabs, and fast zombies. In particular, the last two seem mostly complete, leaving it unclear as to why they were cut.
    • Valve considered revisiting the cut Cremator enemy from Half-Life 2 as a Xen cleanup unit, going as far as to draw up new concept art for it. Another piece of concept art shows a Combine patrol mounted on a synth horse.
    • An unused model within the files has a design for the Combine soldier that is a recreation of their Half-Life 2 appearance, along with placeholder textures for different classes that would be realized as the Suppressor and Ordinal.
  • Weapons:
    • Files for the game's tripmines indicate they were originally meant to be a player-usable weapon, and it's possible to re-enable this.
    • There were plans to have Alyx wield a crowbar as per the standard for most Half-Life games. This was ultimately scrapped due to the combined issues of Valve being unable to simulate melee combat in a way they liked, having difficulty with its collision with the scenery, and the fact that test players kept assuming they were playing as Gordon Freeman. The weapon data still exists but without a model assigned, as does a 3D model used in The Stinger.
    • The game files include data for many cut weapon mods, including an SMG upgrade that allows it to spray explosive webs on surfaces, a tau cannon mod, and a shotgun mod that fires Ricochet disks, the latter possibly an early prototype of what became the grenade launcher.

    Canceled Games 
  • Hostile Takeover was meant to be the second expansion to the first Half-Life. Developed by 2015, Inc. (the developers of SiN: Wages of SiN, and later, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault), it would have taken place at a support facility to Black Mesa called Allied Processing, and the player would have taken the role of a "Junior G-Man" (!) assisted by private military soldiers (who were the classes from Team Fortress Classic). Squad-based combat was to be a major focus of the expansion. While the project got quite far in development, it was unexpectedly canned in August of 2000 and Half-Life: Blue Shift became the second expansion.
  • Return to Ravenholm was a spin-off episode for Half-Life 2. Junction Point Studios, with veteran developer Warren Spector, had initially began the concept but after Junction Point was bought out by Disney in 2007, the project was passed to Arkane Studios. As detailed in Noclip's documentary of the company, the story would have taken place after the events of Half-Life 2, and would have seen Adrian Shephard from Half-Life: Opposing Force returning to the series to assist Father Grigori, who would be experimenting with headcrab blood in an attempt to develop an immunity to their bite. There would have been more types of zombies with overhauled AI, most of which are seen without headcrabs attached, and there would have been multiple electricity-based weapons and tools. Valve canceled the game around the end of 2007 for unknown reasons, though it's speculated that Valve feared the game was too similar to then-upcoming Left 4 Dead.
  • In The Final Hours of Half-Life: Alyx, Valve confirmed that Half-Life 3 was indeed in development throughout 2013-2014. Its gameplay would have taken inspiration from the AI Director of Left 4 Dead, with item placements and enemy encounters being dynamically randomized between playthroughs to provide fresh experiences. Development only lasted one year before the project stalled out and was canceled, largely in part due to the rough state of the Source 2 engine.
  • A Half-Life themed minigame codenamed Shooter was intended for Valve's VR compilation The Lab. While it playtested extremely well, a lack of development time and concerns over fan backlash from using the dormant Half-Life IP for a VR minigame caused it not to make the final cut, though it planted the seeds for what became Half-Life: Alyx.
  • Another VR title, Borealis, was briefly worked on around the same time as the Shooter demo. Headed by lead writer Marc Laidlaw, it would have taken place on the Borealis ship as it traveled through time between the Seven Hour War and the events of Half-Life 2, and the team considered minigames such as fishing. It never gained traction and was canned at the end of 2015, with Laidlaw retiring from the company soon after.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: