It sounds like Half-Life 3 may be more like Rage this time, only more interactive than id Software's latest post-apocalyptic open-world shooter.
Half-Life 3 is back on the rumor mill again, conveniently one day after Valve's hardware division spoke with Engadget about its 2013 plans. An unnamed source has reportedly spilled details regarding the mysterious Half-Life sequel, confirming that the game is indeed in development (duh), but there's a lot that still needs to be done.
Breaking away from the rumor for just a moment, there's a good chance Valve is working on Source 2 in conjunction with Half-Life 3 much like id Software did with Rage and id Tech 5. The original Source engine made its debut back in June 2004 with the launch of Counter-Strike: Source and shortly thereafter Half-Life 2. Thus, it's easy to assume Source 2 and Half-Life 3 will be connected and launched simultaneously.
Building on that, on a business level, it's probably time to update both the engine and Valve's flagship franchise, especially with Epic taking up all the licensing opportunities with its commercial-friendly Unreal Engine.
This Source 2 concept seemingly backs up the remainder of the current rumor which claims Half-Life 3 will be open-world with many RPG elements. The team has reportedly been so inspired by Bethesda's Elder Scrolls series that they want NPCs and "quests". This will likely be similar to Rage, staying true to its FPS roots while dishing out missions in a vast environment.
Now here's something else to think about: the release date. Sources claim that the game won't make an appearance until after 2013. Bummer we know, but we're betting Source 2 / Half-Life 3 will be next-generation console friendly. The 2013 marker also indicates that Valve's hardware ambitions may be tied into the project, as the first beta is expected to launch sometime next year.
Remember, this is all speculation and rumor save for the possible beta of Valve's first hardware attempt next year. But this latest rumor does make sense given that today's technology allows the Half-Life universe to be even more immersive than it was back in 2004.