Valve's Half-Life 3 has reached mythical status. It's a meme for the ages, and its legacy is built on the fact that it's likely never going to officially release. However, it doesn't mean that gamers won't be able to play the title unofficially. In fact, you can finally play Half-Life 3... sort of.
A while back Laidlaw published a public draft of the story for Half-Life 2: Episode 3, or what some people refer to as Half-Life 3. It would have rounded out some of the story threads that were left hanging wide open at the end of Half-Life 2: Episode 2. The massive cliffhanger from the previous episode was partially resolved in the story that Laidlaw described on his website. Obviously, a lot of people were left wanting to play the game as it would have been the culmination and completion of years worth of waiting, and a payoff for the patience paid to Valve's revolutionary first-person shooter series.
Nevertheless, Laidlaw publishing the epistle also sort of meant that Valve had no plans to complete the game series, hence why he felt it okay to give away the ending through the blog post.
With Laidlaw's written groundwork already setting up the story pace, characterizations and playable levels, some modders took it upon themselves to bring the story to life.
As mentioned by DSO Gaming, the first mod based on Laidlaw's plot synopsis is available via the Tiger Team over on the Blendo Games page. It's part of what's called an Epistle 3 game jam, where various mod teams are interpreting Laidlaw's depiction of Episode 3 in the way they see fit.
The first playable mod available that's based on Laidlaw's synopsis is still really rough around the edges, but expect to see more fleshed out mods in the coming months that slowly ratchet up the quality.
The news about the availability of a Half-Life Episode 3 mod has actually turned a lot of gamers into curmudgeons, with plenty of anger being directed toward Valve. Why? Because they feel as if Valve has abandoned Half-Life to pursue microtransactions.
Others still feel as if Valve put Half-Life 3 on the back burner in order to focus on the upcoming Dota 2 card game, claiming that Valve no longer loves the series that put the studio on the map. The thing is, we don't know that Valve was ever working on Half-Life 3 in any meaningful capacity, and there were obviously no plans to go through with Half-Life 2: Episode 3 as Marc Laidlaw had envisioned it, since he posted the rest of the story up on his blog. On the upside, at least gamers can look forward to increasingly high-quality mods that will eventually finish the Half-Life saga as part of the Epistle 3 game jam.
According to the game jam creators, they believe that Half-Life 3 belongs out in the world and they want to encourage people to create it as they see fit.