Valve’s Mysterious “HL3” Text File References Half-Life Enemies and Virtual Reality

Now, what could “HL3” stand for?

Will Valve ever release Half-Life 3? The last Half-Life game ended on a cliffhanger in 2007, and since then fans have been analyzing Valve games and Gabe Newell speeches for hints about the sequel. The newest pieces of the mystery are a series of text files uploaded to Valve’s Dota 2, including the hl3.txt file that may be a reference to the long-awaited sequel.

A recent update to Dota 2 added three text files: hl3.txt, ai_basenpc.txt, and rpg.txt. Players have uploaded and examined the content of these files, especially considering that the first can be seen as an abbreviation of Half-Life 3. Within the massive files, there are a few items that might be Half-Life references.

The HL3 file contains these points:

  • “Quest Member? (Neutral to Combine and doesn’t take damage)”
  • “Combine Pulse Ceiling Turret”
  • “VR Chaperone”

The Combine were the primary antagonists of Half-Life 2, and Gordon Freeman fights against them throughout the entire game. The VR Chaperone may be a reference to virtual reality technology included in the game, as Valve is currently creating the HTC Vive headset to use in future games.

The RPG.txt file contains a “VR Movement” entry that could also be a reference to VR technology in the game.

Finally, the ai_basenpc.txt file contains a few entries on enemy squads and how they interact.

  • “NPCs that are in the same squad (i.e. have matching squad names) will share information about enemies, and will take turns attacking and covering each other”
  • “Wake all of the NPCs squadmates if the NPC is woken”

If this is related to Half-Life 3, these entries could explain some sophisticated enemy tactics or team-based battles. The Half-Life series is known for its advanced enemy AI, so these wouldn’t be out of place in an entry about another Half-Life game.

Valve haven’t said anything about the contents of these folders, but the fact that text files possibly referring to Half-Life 3 were added to a Valve developed game could be an early clue.

Do you think Half-Life 3 is actually in development, or could these files be related to a new, unannounced project? Let us know in the comments.

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