Marc Laidlaw was a writer at Valve back when they were making Half-Life games. He worked on the plotline for the first Half-Life, its sequel, and the two follow-up chapters. Valve also planned a third post-HL2 chapter that, for whatever reason, was never released, leaving the tale of Gordon Freeman on a cliffhanger, unresolved to this day.
But today, Laidlaw posted something interesting to his personal site: a piece of “genderswapped fanfiction” entitled “Epistle 3.” There an entire plotline was written starring “Gertie Fremont” that matched exactly with the events that might have followed Episode 2.
Laidlaw’s site quickly crashed under the weight of long-suffering Half Life fans seeking closure. The entire essay was reposted on a Pastebin page (with the correct names added) but as of this writing that appears to be down as well. The best we can do at the moment is the summary posted by Kotaku:
Gordon and Alyx head for Antarctica, resting place of the Borealis, the research ship mentioned at the end of Episode 2. They’re shot down as they approach, though, and find that surrounding the ship is an enormous Combine base, inside which the Borealis is continually flickering in and out of existence.
After an encounter with Dr. Breen—whose consciousness had been transplanted into an alien slug’s body, allowing him to survive the demise of his human body in Episode 2—Gordon, Alyx and Dr. Mossman (who you rescue from a Combine prison) manage to board the Borealis, and while there are pulled across both space and time, seeing things like the Seven Hour War, alien worlds the Combine were about to conquer and even the ship’s origins at Aperture.
Following a dispute over what to do with the ship (Mossman argues for keeping the ship, Alyx wants to honour her father’s wish to destroy it), Alyx shoots Mossman dead, and commits Gordon to a plan to drive the ship into the heart of the Combine’s “invasion nexus”.
Before it can strike, though, the G-Man arrives, speaks with Alyx and the pair depart, leaving Gordon alone to drive the ship on its suicide mission. Just as its about to hit its target, the Vortigaunts open a portal and save Gordon, dropping him on a shore where he isn’t certain of what year it is or how the war against the Combine has ended.
And…that’s where it wraps, Freeman writing “Except no further correspondence from me regarding these matters; this is my final episode.”
If any of this is true, the explicit “final episode” dialogue would hint that Half-Life 3 was never planned — Valve originally meant to end Gordon’s story, albeit abruptly, with the third chapter of Episode 3. We can’t confirm the validity of Laidlaw’s story at this early date, but he’s sure tweeting like it’s authentic.
An official statement from Valve would be nice regarding this. If it happens we will update.