There's speculation that Valve's Software boss Gabe Newell was talking about Half-Life 3 during an interview in the latest Seven Day Cooldown podcast, unofficially addressing the sequel's uncertain state by referring to it as Ricochet 2. In a nutshell, Valve wants to be super-transparent about the third installment, and right now silence is better because gamers aren't exposed to the numerous changes that are taking place in the game's development at this stage.
"In terms of Ricochet 2, we always have this problem that when we talk about things too far in advance, we end up changing our minds as we're going through and developing stuff," he said. "So as we're thinking through the giant story arc which is Ricochet 2, you might get to a point where you're saying something is surprising us in a positive way and something is surprising us in a negative way, and, you know, we'd like to be super-transparent about the future of Ricochet 2."
"The problem is, we think that the twists and turns that we're going through would probably drive people more crazy than just being silent about it, until we can be very crisp about what's happening next," he added.
One example of the need for intentional silence points to 2011 in which Valve reportedly went through "unexpected concept changes" which led to the delay in the Half-Life 3 project. We unofficially know that something is indeed in the works, as over the years we've seen little clues pointing to Half-Life 3 or Half-Life 2: Episode 3 including the Valve employee attending a function wearing a Half-Life 3 T-shirt.
Of course, Newell could definitely be talking about a Ricochet sequel, but highly unlikely: Ricochet was a multiplayer mod for the original Half-Life, developed by Valve and released back in November 2000 (June 2002 via Steam). But the Seven Day Cooldown interviewer framed the question to Newell in a manner that suggested he was discussing Half-Life 3.
The last Half-Life game released by Valve was back in 2007: Half-Life 2: Episode 2. Since then, Valve has released Portal, Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, Alien Swarm, Portal 2 and DOTA 2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is due to launch on the PC, Mac, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this summer.