Half-Life 3 is the video game everyone wants to see released, even though we’ve reached the point where younger members of the video game audience may never have seen, much less played, the original two games or their expansions. False teases of a release date for Half-Life 3 have become so legion that “Half-Life 3 confirmed” has its own Know Your Meme entry.
Two interns at an advertising agency have decided to take a different tack on the issue. They’re tapping into the ridiculousness around the release of Half-Life 3 to raise money on IndieGoGo for a campaign to try and speed along development of the game.
The plan is to use Google AdWords, a mobile billboard, lookalikes of Gabe Newell (the co-founder and managing director of Valve Softworks and one of gaming’s most familiar faces), and a Half-Life themed concert, to bring additional awareness to the collective desire to see Half-Life 3 released.
Valve Software’s games Half-Life and Half-Life 2, released in 1998 and 2004 respectively, are landmarks in the development of the first-person shooter genre. They pioneered telling stories in FPS games “in-engine,” meaning sticking solely within the first-person perspective of the main character, rather than transitioning to cutscenes where the player watches the action from the outside. The BioShock series owes a creative debt to the Half-Life franchise.
The Half-Life series also places puzzle-solving and other sorts of non-combat interactions at the same level of importance as the shooting. The crowbar and gravity gun from Half-Life 1 and Half-Life 2 respectively are iconic in game culture, and Portal, released in 2007, owes a debt to the addition of the gravity gun that allows players to pick up, manipulate, and throw objects in the game world.
It’s not as though Valve Softworks isn’t already as aware as it possibly could be that the fans want Half-Life 3, but that’s probably not the most important part of this campaign. Effective, or necessary, or not, it’s a great internship project for a couple of kids who want to go into advertising. They just made headlines with their first PR campaign.