Apparently, Warren Spector, the creator of the cyberpunk, sci-fi shooter Deus Ex was working on a new Half Life game at one time. Unfortunately, it never made it to market.
During that time, Spector was the head of a development company called Junction Point Studios (you may know them for their game Epic Mickey). The studio was having trouble staying afloat, until Valve came along anyway.
Spector explained what happened during an AMA session on Reddit.
“Junction Point had a project cancelled. There was no money. Basically, Valve came in like a white knight and offered us some work on a Half Life episode set in a part of the Half Life universe that hadn’t been explored deeply.”
What he didn’t say, was whether or not the game was the next title in the series — a la Half-Life 3 — or a standalone spinoff. I’m more inclined to believe it was the latter, as I’m sure Valve would want to develop the next big game in the franchise in-house.
What Do We Know About the Mysterious Half-Life Game?
One particular detail Spector discussed during the AMA is intriguing — and simultaneously gut-wrenching because we’ll never see it in action. It’s what would have differentiated this mysterious Half-Life title.
Anyone who’s invested some time into the Half-Life series knows about the infamous Gravity Gun. It’s both a versatile tool and weapon rolled into one package. It can manipulate gravity to do many things, the most important of which is picking up, freezing and flinging objects.
Spector says that a new tool was going to take center stage for the unnamed Half Life game, a magnet gun.
“In addition, just because my team couldn’t just do anything the easy way, we decided to add a new tool to the Half Life universe: the magnet gun. We came up with some COOL stuff to do with the magnet gun… The magnet gun was entirely different than the gravity gun. The two would have been super complementary.”
He seems to believe the dynamic between the Gravity Gun and Magnet Gun would have been remarkable. It makes sense, and when you think about where the next game will have to go in order to evolve, a new manipulation tool is pretty much a must.
Why Did It Get Cancelled?
But alas, it was not meant to be. Valve decided it wasn’t the right direction for the Half-Life series and eventually cancelled the game. Can you imagine what it might have been like, though?
Spector’s take on the Half-Life universe would have been something unique. If mention of the Magnet Gun doesn’t prove it, just take a glance at his most popular work. Imagine Deus Ex’s open level design crammed into a Half-Life game, right along with a dynamic changing world. Undoubtedly, he would have stuck with his design decision to offer multiple avenues, allowing players to choose between run and gun strategies, or stealth based ones.
Damn you, Gaben.