I'm writing this as a my sort of review of an article I stumbled onto a few days ago on titled: Hey Valve, What's Going On, Eh? by John Walker (here's the link to the article on Kotaku.com http://kotaku.com/5876994/hey-valve-whats-going-on-eh?tag=halflife). The first time I read this article I had just finished playing through all the Half-Life 2 games, and actually stopped reading it halfway through. It pissed me off. From my half-concussed, drug addled, nerd raged point of view I only saw an article justifying Valve's silence in a way that was very much true, but a truth I didn't agree with. Then, after I had time to calm down, I read it again and found a very thought provoking article that I found had numerous points I did in fact agree with.
I should initially state that I'm not directly writing to Mr. Walker nor to Valve, instead, like always, I'm merely putting my two cents worth out there for anyone who gives a crap about what I think (which I'm sure is nobody, but still I feel I must clarify the purpose of this entry). Anyways, Mr. Walker brought up a number of points that I found interesting. There were some I certainly understood and agreed with and others I simply couldn't agree with. Again, these are just my opinions and by no means should they be taken out of that context. To prove I'm not just blindly hating the subject at hand, I'll start by addressing what I liked about the article.
I truly admired Mr. Walker's approach to the very sensitive issue of Valve's unwillingness to release any information about the state of the Half-Life franchise. He addressed the issue with a very professional demeanor, citing many valid reasons why Valve is justified in keeping everything so secretive that even The Pentagon is green with envy, while also keeping the gamers' thoughts and feelings in mind. It is by far one of the most level-headed articles on the subject that I have ever seen, and I respect that.
But I am not so level-headed, and much less forgiving than Mr. Walker, as some may know. In the past I have expressed my feelings in a much less professional matter. No doubt anyone who follows me on Twitter has seen my occasional tweets about my feelings on this subject. Surely it has cost me some followers, but I can't help it. As a fan of these games and as a storyteller I couldn't help but feel completely, for a lack of a more level-headed term, outraged at the situation the good folks at Valve have created. It wasn't just the fact that they haven't released the next game. That in of itself is easy to understand, games are very expensive and difficult to make, so it's not that the third installment of this franchise, be it Episode 3 or a full blown threequel, hasn't been seen yet that had my knickers in a twist. It's the fact that there hasn't been a peep from anyone about what's going on. It is this lack of information, that has me and a number of fans steaming.
Mr. Walker is right when he says that Valve has a right to it's privacy. It's cold Vulcan logic that I can't deny. Valve can keep everything hidden in the dark until the Universe finally implodes, explodes, or turns into hamster jelly. It's their right as a company. However, he does point out that the secrecy, and the effect it's having on the fans, is reaching comical levels. This, I agree with. At this point, I'd be content if Valve said literally anything about the state of the next Half-Life game, even if they told everyone the next game will never happen simply because they didn't want to do it anymore, anything is better than nothing. This is the rare instance where ignorance isn't bliss.
This brings me to the point where I begin to disagree with Mr. Walker who says Valve isn't obligated to tell us what's going on. Sure, he is, technically, right about this as well. Valve isn't obligated to explain itself. I can only speak for myself in this case, but as a storyteller, I myself couldn't dangle a whopper of a cliffhanger in front of my audience and then go silent for seven years. Sure, George RR Martin can get away with it because, hey, we know the guy doesn't like sticking to schedules. At least there's an excuse, and any excuse is better than no excuse. I'd have no problems telling the people who supported my career and paid to read my stories that the next story isn't coming out because I was simply tired of working on it. At least they'd know my stance on it, and they don't sit around twiddling their thumbs while they wait for a story that isn't going to come out. They could hate me all they wanted, that is their right, but at least there is a definite answer and both me and my consumers are clear on what's going on. Of course, all of this is hypothetical, I am not a best selling author, but if I were that would be my honest stance on the matter, it would be MY obligation to my consumers.
To clarify, I wouldn't hate Valve if they told us straight to our face that they didn't give a flying fuck about the next Half-Life game and were never going to release another game. I simply can't because I hate the silence and not knowing much more now. Sure, years before my thoughts were different. I remember really hating Valve for a really long time, even though I highly respect them as a game developer (and I still do, and I really do admire them even now), but things change with time, people change, and I have changed. But that's just it, things change, and as the gap between Episode 2 and whatever lies beyond tomorrow grows ever larger, I find myself caring less and less about it. The passion is leaving me. I mean, look at this entry for Heaven's sake! No bashing, no rant, just a calm expression of opinions that either agree or disagree with other opinions. So what happens if (and I'll only say if, as it is still hypothetical) I pass by a retail store and find a copy of Valve's new multi-award winning game Half-Life 3: The Game That Will Make You Believe There Is A God And Leave You Content Until The Day You Die? Will I pick myself up a copy? Probably not...
...because it's just a game...
...and because I would have already bought a copy!
I'm not looking for feedback, once again these are just my thoughts and opinions. By no means do I mean any disrespect to either John Walker or the good people at Valve. In fact, I'd like to thank both of them for the ideas that I felt like jotting down on this entry.
Until next time. I'll see you when I see ya.