Warning! The following contains spoilers for Half-Life: Alyx, available now.
With the release of Half-Life: Alyx, fans of the Half-Life series have been treated to an exceptional game and story within the Half-Life universe.
Though the game is officially an interquel between Half-Life and Half-Life 2, the ending of the game has major ramifications for the series going forward and sets up events for the long-awaited Half-Life 3.
Throughout Alyx’s journey, she’s searching for Gordon Freeman, who the Resistance believes the Combine have captured and are holding him inside a massive prison known as the Vault. Alyx’s journey takes her inside the Vault, where she succeeds in breaking open the holding cell and letting the occupant free. But it wasn’t Gordon Freeman who the Combine had locked away.
The Combine had somehow managed to capture the G-Man, the mysterious figure who recruited Gordon in Half-Life. Upon the destruction of his cell, he immediately offers Alyx a deal, while simultaneously demonstrating just how far beyond the main characters he is. Using his control over time, the G-Man shows Eli’s death at the end of Episode 2 and gives Alyx the option to prevent his death from coming to pass. She does, but the G-Man takes her into his employ, having become dissatisfied with Gordon Freeman for unclear reasons.
After the credits, we now see the now altered ending of Half-Life 2: Episode 2. Eli Vance is alive, but Alyx is now absent from the scene. Eli wakes Gordon up and swears to kill the G-Man for taking his daughter away. The game ends with Gordon grabbing his crowbar, setting the stage for the long-awaited Half-Life 3.
This scene takes one of the biggest cliffhangers in gaming history and massively flips it on its head. While we don’t yet know the consequences of removing Alyx from the timeline, this does cement the G-Man and his mysterious employers as a much more adversarial force in the Half-Life universe, a force that is also at odds with the Combine.
That the G-Man has now shown the ability to not just stop time, but utterly alter the timeline with seemingly no paradoxes drastically alters our fundamental understanding of the setting. And considering the Combine can contain him at all demonstrates just how far beyond humanity both of them are.
With this in mind, the possibilities are endless. Could the Aperture Science vessel Borealis that was set up in Episode 2 contain the key to halting the G-Man? How will the Combine’s conflict with the G-Man be involved? And what do the Vortigaunts know? Will we get an adaptation of the leaked “Epistle 3” script? The fact that certain plot elements from the script like Alyx becoming the G-Man’s new employee certainly indicates that Half-Life 3 might be headed in that direction.
All we know for sure is that the cliffhanger ending of Episode 2 was resolved in a way that no one was expecting, leaving Half-Life fans clamoring for more.
Half-Life: Alyx's ending has flipped the entire Half-Life series on its head, opening the door for Half-Life 3.