Just days after revealing its Steam Machines initiative, Valve Software has reportedly filed for the registration of the Half-Life 3 trademark in the European Union. The application was registered on September 29, and is currently under evaluation.
The company already launched a Half-Life 3 group on its bug tracking website some time ago, seemingly confirming that the game is in development, but a second newly-created group named Half-Life 3 Core just recently appeared. The site is now offline, but revealed that 46 developers are involved with the project's debug process. Does this mean the next engine could be named "Core" instead of Source 2? Probably not.
Last week a supposed Valve Software employee claimed that the company would reveal Source 2 last Friday. That didn't happen of course, as Valve introduced the new Steam controller with dual touchpads and a touch screen. Now there's speculation that Half-Life 3 may be announced this month on October 10, the six-year anniversary of the Orange Box and Half-Life 2: Episode 2. Yes, it's been that long.
Back in June, evidence of Half-Life 3, Left 4 Dead 3 and Source 2 surfaced in mailing lists found within the JIRA project management and bug tracking software. At the time, a group of 42 employees were on a single Half-Life 3 list, a significant number given around 300 individuals are employed by the studio. Three project folders were dedicated to Left 4 Dead 3, and the Source 2 engine had 14 different working groups.
Back in August, John Patrick Lowrie, the actor who has worked on Half-Life 2, Left 4 Dead 2 and DOTA 2, claimed on his blog that Valve wasn't even working on Half-Life 3. He said one of the reasons is due to Valve wanting to perfect motion-capture technology. He explained that Half-Life 2 didn't use motion-capture, so the team was able to create non-player characters that look directly at the gamer no matter where they go and stand. Currently you can't get that kind of one-on-one interaction using motion-capture in games.
"With mo-cap you can’t do that, at least not yet," he said. "Once you film the actor doing something and capture that motion, that’s what the character is going to do. This works great in movies, but when you make something interactive it gets way less interactive with mo-cap. So that’s one of the things they’re working on. Still nothing definitive, but I hope this helps you understand at least one of the reasons why they haven’t brought out HL3 yet."
A year ago there was talk that Half-Life 3 would have open-world and RPG elements. The team has reportedly been so inspired by Bethesda's Elder Scrolls series that they want "quest"-giving NPCs. This will likely be similar to Rage, staying true to its FPS roots while dishing out missions in a vast environment.