Marc Laidlaw's 'Epistle 3'

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    • Solokiller wrote:

      Why would they include references to the Borealis in Portal 2 if they'd already stopped working on Episode 3 by then? They had to have known it would just hype Episode 3 even more.
      Is it possible that when EP3 failed as a project, that's what made them rethink the decision to take Chell out of Portal 2? back in 2007 they originally planned to give her freedom as soon as she was outside, GLaDOS hinted at the possibility that she'd find Black Mesa for help in the credits, and I do recall Valve saying somewhere that they designed Chell for the Half-Life world but they came to find that she fit nicely in Portal, and then they mixed the two worlds together, and apparently she was to have connections with the characters in some way.

      I think the EP3 2007-2008 plots involved Chell in some way and thus Portal and Half-Life would have been more connected but when the project didn't pull through for some reason, they distanced the two worlds and put Chell back in Aperture and also GLaDOS, maybe they planned for her to be in HL3, considering they were supposedly editing prototype EP2 maps and putting in new mechanics as some proof-of-concept kind of thing... since 2012-2013. Maybe Portal 2 was planned to take place post-EP3 and during HL3?
    • Personally I believe there has been a lot of work done on the Half-life/Portal games that we don't know about. I don't ever recall any official statement that said things were cancelled. What I do remember though, is that they were talking about doing something "pretty ambitious". I cant help but feel that there is more to it that hasn't been found. Like mentioned above the Borealis stuff, the unused photos and textures from the portal game, of the Borealis and scientist from Black Mesa standing in front of it. The plans of the Borealis that J. Mossman sent, the message that talked about having to send the Borealis off in a hurry by punching something in to the OR BOX. Just so many options to type the HL-Portal stuff together, time travel, alternate timelines, even the Minerva stuff, it just seems too good to let it go a full decade without anything being done. Wishful thinking, sure, but I'd rather believe than not.
    • gladoscake122 wrote:

      Is it possible that when EP3 failed as a project, that's what made them rethink the decision to take Chell out of Portal 2?
      That doesn't really make sense. Why would they include an easter egg of the Borealis in Portal 2 if EP3 had already been scrapped? They would have to know that would come across as foreshadowing of the upcoming game. This suggests at least that the Portal 2 developers thought in 2011 that EP3 was on its way to eventual release. However, evidently when Laidlaw left Valve in 2016 (or since having left) it seemed to him that HL3/EP3 is not going to be released. At least not in recognizable form. If he thought it was coming out in the foreseeable future, it would have made more sense to just wait and let the game tell its own story. Presumably, things changed between 2011 and 2016, which makes sense.

      Now maybe I'm wrong. Maybe:
      • The Borealis in Portal 2 was meant to serve as a call back, rather than foreshadowing (which is possible, but hopefully they'd realize that would backfire)
      • EP3 is in the same state now (some level of development hell) as it was in 2011, but the perspectives of the Portal 2 devs and Marc Laidlaw are just different, causing them to disagree on whether it's likely to be released
      • HL3/EP3/some related IP is in serious development, but it has deviated far from Laidlaw's original story vision, so that he is offering his own ideal culmination of the arc (as true "fanfiction" which will contradict or otherwise differ in a major way from the eventual canonical continuation of the franchise)
    • Kenley wrote:

      They would have to know that would come across as foreshadowing of the upcoming game. This suggests at least that the Portal 2 developers thought in 2011 that EP3 was on its way to eventual release.
      Or, that Ep3 was still thought to be on its way in 2007, when Portal was released and the devs started thinking about and designing Portal 2 - and, given that 2007 was the release of Ep2, as well, it's not really surprising that Ep3 was assumed at that point.

      Games take a long time to design and make. The story for Portal 2 was certainly nailed down in its final form long before its 2011 release.
    • I like a lot of ideas Marc Laidlaw laid out in Epistle 3. The Bootstrap Device which propelled the Borealis to the Antarctic reminds me of the noclip-like invisibility cloak device used on the Pegasus in Star Trek: The Next Generation (the ship can fly through solid objects while invisible, and then got stuck inside an asteroid). I figured that some conflict would occur between Alyx and Mossman, though I'm not sure I'd want the conflict to be handled the way it w as. I also expected that Breen to be in an alien host, and I like to choice to let him live or give him a mercy killing. I still would rather have Breen turn into an alien boss fight, but that's just me.

      Having Alyx and Gordon plunge the Borealis into Combine territory as a suicide attack seems stupid, and judging by the conclusion, it didn't make much of a difference against the Combine.

      Anyway, I like the idea of the Bootstrap Device, and it makes sense. I originally expected a device which was an expanded version of Aperture's portal gun. Something like a big generator which opened seamless portals to any part of the universe or the world. I expected to have Gordon and Alyx teleport back to Xen, then teleport to the Combine's world, then having to survive in that world and fight the Combine Advisors like Gordon fought the Xen Masters and the Nihilinth back on Xen.

      Laidlaw's Epistle makes no mention of encountered other Combine Advisors in the Borealis. They've been built up as these enemies that you were destined to fight in the Episodes, and there's no mention of fighting them. Judging Episode 2, the Advisors would be the toughest enemies to fight. They are powerful, telekinetic, and can paralyze you any time before they stick their tongues into your head. You need some kind of special weapon, power-up, or tactics to take them on. What possibilities are there? An anti-telekinetic module? An Advisor Buster? Using the environment against the Advisors a la the Tentacles by being stealthy and quick? Using Dog against them? Part of me likes to think that maybe Gordon may find the Portal Gun, and use it to use the environment against the Advisors.

      Now that the Epistle is out, how will Mossman will be handled? I mean, her claim that she was helping the resistance all along makes sort of sense, because her reasons for betraying the resistance and Gordon did not. Still, she left Gordon and Alyx behind in Nova Prospekt to fend for themselves after telelporting Eli to the Citadel, and that was a reckless gamble. She only managed to betray Breen because Gordon survived, wrecked Breen's army, then got caught. If she depended on Gordon and Alyx alive, she could've teleported them back to the Citadel with her instead of leaving them to die. I feel that there's more to Mossman that needs to be explored.

      I certainly hope Valve knows what they're doing. for a new Half-Life.
    • Boundaryman wrote:

      I like a lot of ideas Marc Laidlaw laid out in Epistle 3. The Bootstrap Device which propelled the Borealis to the Antarctic reminds me of the noclip-like invisibility cloak device used on the Pegasus in Star Trek: The Next Generation (the ship can fly through solid objects while invisible, and then got stuck inside an asteroid). I figured that some conflict would occur between Alyx and Mossman, though I'm not sure I'd want the conflict to be handled the way it w as. I also expected that Breen to be in an alien host, and I like to choice to let him live or give him a mercy killing. I still would rather have Breen turn into an alien boss fight, but that's just me.

      Having Alyx and Gordon plunge the Borealis into Combine territory as a suicide attack seems stupid, and judging by the conclusion, it didn't make much of a difference against the Combine.

      Anyway, I like the idea of the Bootstrap Device, and it makes sense. I originally expected a device which was an expanded version of Aperture's portal gun. Something like a big generator which opened seamless portals to any part of the universe or the world. I expected to have Gordon and Alyx teleport back to Xen, then teleport to the Combine's world, then having to survive in that world and fight the Combine Advisors like Gordon fought the Xen Masters and the Nihilinth back on Xen.

      Laidlaw's Epistle makes no mention of encountered other Combine Advisors in the Borealis. They've been built up as these enemies that you were destined to fight in the Episodes, and there's no mention of fighting them. Judging Episode 2, the Advisors would be the toughest enemies to fight. They are powerful, telekinetic, and can paralyze you any time before they stick their tongues into your head. You need some kind of special weapon, power-up, or tactics to take them on. What possibilities are there? An anti-telekinetic module? An Advisor Buster? Using the environment against the Advisors a la the Tentacles by being stealthy and quick? Using Dog against them? Part of me likes to think that maybe Gordon may find the Portal Gun, and use it to use the environment against the Advisors.

      Now that the Epistle is out, how will Mossman will be handled? I mean, her claim that she was helping the resistance all along makes sort of sense, because her reasons for betraying the resistance and Gordon did not. Still, she left Gordon and Alyx behind in Nova Prospekt to fend for themselves after telelporting Eli to the Citadel, and that was a reckless gamble. She only managed to betray Breen because Gordon survived, wrecked Breen's army, then got caught. If she depended on Gordon and Alyx alive, she could've teleported them back to the Citadel with her instead of leaving them to die. I feel that there's more to Mossman that needs to be explored.

      I certainly hope Valve knows what they're doing. for a new Half-Life.
      To be honest, I always expected that Alyx would be more colder and have unsound judgement after experiencing the events of EP2, without the voice of reason from her father, she'd go ham on anyone who'd dare get in the way of her fulfilling his dying wish.

      I think they originally intended to send their huge space-time 'bomb' into a structure like the Citadel or take out enemies near by, to send a message like 'You don't own us' to the Union. And their suicide would give the signal to other races to 'fight back' and finish what they started. But then they realized what they were up against, Humanity has no hope of taking out the 'Combine' completely but they've shown that they can do a lot with the right resources in the right place, or rather, the right *man* in the wrong *place*.. but they managed to block them out of our zone in EP2 and destroyed a piece of technology that would have given them instant teleportation for their larger forces, so the best they can do is to keep closing their portals and taking out their control centers.

      I'm sure that this short summary of the main events is missing a lot of battle sequences and fighting, minute details that would have held more meaning in an actual episode, but i do suppose the 'Combine base' described as being in the arctic would have played out like Air Exchange and Weather Control, Kraken Base, and the Borealis chapters being a lot like the Citadel in HL2, there would be a lot of potential for exposition, easter eggs, boss fights and puzzle elements in the middle. Breengrub probably was fought before being executed, and the sequence could have been like a nightmarish love-craft equivalent to a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, Breen's host body cracking open into that flow--y abstract entity from the 2008 concept art. Perhaps fighting his god-like form on the Borealis while going through Xen, all hallucinogenic and trippy. Or he starts bending our perception of reality, the Arctic environment becoming Xen-ish... something like that.

      Regarding Mossman, i have a little headcanon that she was an ex-Aperture employee and joined the company after losing to Gordon in the fight for the position in the Black Mesa test chamber, interestingly, Alyx mentioned how she droned on about how she should have been in the test chamber on the day of the incident, but what could that mean? did she think she could have done what Gordon did? did she know what would happen? i'm not so sure, but it sounds like Aperture is how she knew a great deal of the Borealis and even where it was sent, she even was in possession of 'resonance keys' that would allow them to materialize it into their reality, but it's confusing, her discovery of the ship would have taken place some days before EP1, right? and she went on the trip to find the Combine portal codes, it's almost as if the Combine were aware of the ship's location and possibly studying it during HL2, hence Mossman's attacked by soldiers at a research station. She mentions that she was a double agent, spy, so she had to get on the Combine's side to get access to the keys and find out where the ship was, but why wasn't it mentioned by the Resistance before EP2? did she not tell them about it or wasn't very sure of it? how exactly did the Combine find it but didn't... use it? and why did the ship only become significant to Gman after HL2? was it always part of his plans for Gordon before the Vortigaunts intervened? did the Borealis only just reappear after HL2? it's confusing. And another thing. How exactly was the Borealis docked during the 7 Hour War when it supposedly vanished randomly like a freak accident and there was a crew on board still when they would have left the project once it was discarded and sealed years later like everything in Old Aperture, how did the Combine find the dock, if it was supposedly miles underground? they came in from land, sea and air, so that means they broke in and went to the bowels of the facility, yet left technology like GLaDOS and the Portal Gun behind while looking for this ship? does someone have an explanation for this? it doesn't work with the timeline at all. Unless it's because of time travel.
    • k3nny1550 wrote:

      That's probably another reason the game didn't get made. Too many loose ends like this.
      The games were always going to end on cliff-hangers though, it wouldn't be Half-Life if we had 100% exposition and all loose ends tied up, there'd be no remaining speculation, no remaining questions, and i think a big part of Half-Life is centered around not knowing what's really going on behind the scenes, even the truth is so strange and vague, it just keeps going on and on. And that's the point.