OPEN SPOILERS : Half-Life Alyx ending

finalflame

Product Management
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
3,451
ok fair enough, if it's just like a quick moment that's a wink and a nod then it makes sense, I was envisioning like a solemn ceremony where he's handing off the crowbar reverently as though it's the strongest weapon you have. (i mean this is the game with the gravity gun and ACTUAL guns, right?)

But if it's just like "ey buddy you're gonna need to gear up" I get it.
What an odd leap to take when you clearly understand so little about the franchise, lol
 

StormBrute

Member
Oct 26, 2017
95
Watched this online; I have not seen the rest of the game, just the first two hours and this. Therefore, this of course is to be taken with a grain of salt then without having the context of the rest of the game...

After years of being hyped for the possibility of the follow-up to Episode 2, I do have to say this ending hits the wrong notes for me. Everything with how it involves the E2 ending just feels weird, from the time travel, to not really explaining what happened to Alyx then in the retconned ending, completely undermining the impact of E2's ending by bringing back Eli, and (as EatChildren explained well) seeming to shift the focus from this race against the clock for the last chance of humanity's survival to something so... banal and generic with saving Alyx.

That combined with how it seems to treat Gordon and the crowbar with just this weird bit of reverence makes it feel like it was written more by a fan with cool ideas this time rather than a planned arc or continuation. Which I don't mean to put down the new Campo Santo writer, but it does make me sad that we were unable to see the original story seen through.
 

Triscuitable

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,789
Based on the original script, the Borealis does not stop the Combine. But again, who knows what they'll do now that Laidlaw is no longer on board.
Robin Walker said in a Kotaku interview that this was never the "original script". Epistle 3 is, at best, one of the many, many drafts for the hypothetical Episode 3.
Robin Walker said:
I remember thinking "I didn’t think that’s what we were planning for Episode Three at all. So I think my reaction to Epistle Three was largely "Oh, I’ve seen these kinds of things from Marc before." They’re like a dump of something he’s thinking of at the time. There was never a document that said "Here’s what Episode Three is going to be like." There was never a document from Marc about "Here’s the overall exact thing that needs to happen." Instead, there were many documents.
 

Calvarok

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,950
What an odd leap to take when you clearly understand so little about the franchise, lol
wow sick burn dude. i know enough about it to realize that you have far more impressive and dramatic tools in the game than a crowbar. and in my original post i 100% owned up to only really knowing stuff through osmosis.

the way the op is written made the scene sound different than it clearly is, without context.
 

BossAttack

Member
Oct 27, 2017
19,898
Robin Walker said in a Kotaku interview that this was never the "original script". Epistle 3 is, at best, one of the many, many drafts for the hypothetical Episode 3.
Yeah, who would know better than *checks notes* the lead writer of the Half-Life franchise.

Of course, what Laidlaw wrote wasn't the "original" script, that's not how games work. You don't write a script and say turn that into a game. It's a collaborative process that evolves with development. What Epitsle 3 is, is Laidlaw's vision of the ending of Episode 3. What he likely would have pushed for at that point.
 

Sentient6

Member
Jan 31, 2020
12
even Half Life has some time travel bullshit now, I'm so disappointed, this is some super cheap and boring stuff.
 

SirFritz

Member
Jan 22, 2018
640
Big HL fan who'll probably never play alyx because of it being VR but I don't like this at all. I always loved the original ending and loved epistle 3 a lot too. Pretty bummed.
 

Tennis

Member
Oct 27, 2017
397
The final sequence seems really cool but the endin,g as others have said, is not satisfying. But I understand that in order to continue they needed a reset and this is a clean slate so I'm happy with that.
 

CoolestSpot

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
16,506
Wait, how does this undo the original ending? I remember Half Life 2 just ending with G-Man pausing everything and walking away
 

Spider-Man

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,292
I fucking called it ages ago. Can’t wait to dig that post of mine out haha

thank you Valve

What an ending. I totally knew it was Gordon in there.
 

McNum

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,668
Denmark
You’re playing by non G-Man rules with that logic.
The G-Man can play by G-Man rules. Though I am curious how the whole ending looks like from Freeman's point of view now.

They should pull a Portal 2 and update Half-Life 2: Episode 2's ending with the new additions so we get Freeman's view of what messing with time like that looks like.
 

Spider-Man

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,292
Just in case you don’t remember all the things that make the ending so good and perfect...

G-Man has Alyx and he was clearly crossing through time when he got caught by the combine. He is likely always doing this and is alluded to throughout the entire series. For example keeping Gordon in stasis so long and even showing you the future and past.

The advisors in HLA wanted to let G-Man go because they saw what he would give Alyx in the future too. Mossman was clearly the one talking to the Advisors. The combine portal is closed in “our time” and their only advantage is that Eli is dead. The humans have all the advantages.

The G-Man and Alyx save Eli. But clearly Gordon at some point refuses to go with G-Man as he says and so he wants Alyx. Who he appears wanting to capture himself throughout Episode 2. BUT THE VORTS DID STOP HIM FROM TAKING GORDON AGAIN. Notice the G-Man prison was powered by vort energy, literally vort batteries and energy and what gives your gloves that ending power.

By Episode 1 Gordon isn’t controlled by G-Man anymore. Vorts did that at the start of episode 1. In episode 2 it always alluded to the importance of Alyx. The G-Man discusses in the black Mesa scene with you as Gordon there and how he watched her since she was young. He also saved her from Black Mesa as he says in Episode 2.

Now it sets up Half Life 3 with Gordon, Eli and dog to save Alyx with the true final enemy. The G-Man, who causes the Cascade in Mesa from the start. The combine are still a big factor but large and part their fight on Earth was reaching an end.

The G-Man wanted Earth to be invaded from the start and the reason why has always been a mystery.
 
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iFirez

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,814
England
We’ve technically had an answer to what the Unforeseen Consequences where that G-Man refered to in Episode 2 - now we do. While it is a retcon, it’s one that fits within the universe quite well. We’ve known about a connection between G-Man and Alyx for a while and he’s being playing her from the beginning. While this does suggest any possible Episode 3 won’t focus on the Arctic or whatever, it still could and whatever the Borealis is could be used to shatter the shackles that hold Alyx. There’s a lot of fan service and a lot of exposition for fans of the series and I’m okay with that, I really enjoyed it. Especially getting to see the ending to Episode 2... or at least that area in the new engine, it looked insane! I still can’t fathom why they recast Alyx, shame they had to do it for Eli too but that’s a different situation entirely.

Now the real question for me is will we have to wait another 10+ years for another taste of Half-Life? Do Valve hope this can drastically increase the amount of VR users out there? Also if a Half-Life 3 was in VR only, I expect a larger pained outcry from the community more than Alyx. However, after playing all of Alyx, I can’t imagine experiencing Half-Life any other way. It was magical, just like playing Half-Life 2 all those years ago was for me.
 

Spider-Man

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,292

I guessed a few things right.

Alyx helping the Vorts. Jumping to the future to save Eli.
 

Cindres

Member
Oct 28, 2017
630
I was blown away by the ending personally, mouth agape the whole time, the only thing I'm confused by now is which Alyx are we playing alongside throughout HL2? She's plucked out of the world at the end of HLA but seemingly ALSO at the end of Ep2...
 

lexony

Member
Oct 25, 2017
280
Europe
To me the ending was just perfect. The whole game builds up to this very moment. And it is still open. The story can go in basically any direction in the next game
 

iFirez

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,814
England
I would like to pose something... so many of the staff who made Half-Life 2 are gone, so it would feel like this new team were making something that wasn’t their own if they made a 3. Instead now they’ve reset the table. They’ve made a way to continue the story their own way, they can literally tell a completely new story without the ties that bound them previously - even if you don’t like that, it means the possibility of more Half-Life is far more likely as theories a blank slate now.

I was blown away by the ending personally, mouth agape the whole time, the only thing I'm confused by now is which Alyx are we playing alongside throughout HL2? She's plucked out of the world at the end of HLA but seemingly ALSO at the end of Ep2...
So it’s a little confusing because we don’t know what happens to her after the events in The Vault, but I think she continues on there or is sent back to that time. And isn’t fully ‘snatched’ by the G-Man until after the events at the end of this game/Episode 2. So she’ll continue without the knowledge of what is going to happen (The Unforeseen Consequences) until the events of Half-Life 2 begin and the rest from there is history.
 

Cindres

Member
Oct 28, 2017
630
I would like to pose something... so many of the staff who made Half-Life 2 are gone, so it would feel like this new team were making something that wasn’t their own if they made a 3. Instead now they’ve reset the table. They’ve made a way to continue the story their own way, they can literally tell a completely new story without the ties that bound them previously - even if you don’t like that, it means the possibility of more Half-Life is far more likely as theories a blank slate now.


So it’s a little confusing because we don’t know what happens to her after the events in The Vault, but I think she continues on there or is sent back to that time. And isn’t fully ‘snatched’ by the G-Man until after the events at the end of this game/Episode 2. So she’ll continue without the knowledge of what is going to happen (The Unforeseen Consequences) until the events of Half-Life 2 begin and the rest from there is history.
Then i question how the end of Ep2 plays out, does she magically get the gloves and deal with the Advisor or does she mourn her dad and a second Alyx appears?
 

GUSH

Member
Nov 17, 2017
1,475
That combined with how it seems to treat Gordon and the crowbar with just this weird bit of reverence makes it feel like it was written more by a fan with cool ideas this time rather than a planned arc or continuation. Which I don't mean to put down the new Campo Santo writer, but it does make me sad that we were unable to see the original story seen through.
I dunno man, Half Life 2 already set a precedent for jerking off Gordon like he's the ultimate messiah and throwing hamfisted winks at the player every 10 seconds to remind them of how cool and important they are. And there was no shortage of fan service retcons there either, they just avoided changing major plot elements.

I get not liking it but none of what you mentioned is new at all to the series.

Fans may disagree but there's no way there was a big meaningful overarching plan for things at any point. They've always been making it up on the spot.
 
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Innolis

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,052
I guess retconning the entire ending to Episode 2 is one way to go about it...What I'm not clear on is how this impacts HL2 as a whole seeing that Alyx somehow alreaady knows how things are gonna end up.
 

Spider-Man

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,292
These are the Unforseen Consequences warned of at the end of Episode 2.

Eli even yells at you blaming that for Alyx being gone.

Not to mention when Eli says WAKE UP GORDON just like the G-Man. Showing how Gordon is truly a Freeman again.

Gordon joined the humans and you can tell the relationship is building with Alyx and Gordon despite his muteness. He does not want to follow the G-Man. That was the whole thing between Episode 1-2. G-Man being blocked by the Vorts. Saving Gordon.

G-Man was not happy. He paid a high price for Alyx because she saved him and replaces Gordon.
 

Dakkon

Member
Oct 27, 2017
515
even Half Life has some time travel bullshit now, I'm so disappointed, this is some super cheap and boring stuff.
...time travel was literally in the first Half Life game. One of the Lambda portal ports takes you back in time before the Resonance Cascade. In Half Life 2 if you let Breen get away at the end you fail from G-Mans assessment that you failed a "time critical sequence" which he could only know if he knows what happens in the future and in Nova Prospekt the portal that takes you and Alyx to Dr Ks place takes you a week into the future.
 

Meech

Member
Oct 29, 2017
181
I really liked the ending and the visual in the after credit cutscene were bananas.
 

iFirez

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,814
England
While I’m a big fan of the ending I do want to point out one of the inconsistencies. There were two combine advisors at the end of Episode 2, not one. Unless the second vanished somehow? Dog has pretty spot on timing though as he jumps in just like he did in Episode 2, except this time not to attack the advisors.
 

Spider-Man

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,292
While I’m a big fan of the ending I do want to point out one of the inconsistencies. There were two combine advisors at the end of Episode 2, not one. Unless the second vanished somehow? Dog has pretty spot on timing though as he jumps in just like he did in Episode 2, except this time not to attack the advisors.
One gets away when dog attacks. Would be no different here. You only see the one that has Eli as Alyx in the past.
 

Cindres

Member
Oct 28, 2017
630
Something I don't think has really been addressed yet though is that "we" actually spoke to the G-Man and had... something of a converstaion. Obviously with Gordon we never had a dialog but I was taken aback in that we actually got to speak to him like an actual...human being...
 

edwardvh

Member
Dec 11, 2018
43
Who knows, maybe Valve did this so we finally stop crying about giving us a cliffhanger that was lasting more than 10 years.
 

Triscuitable

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,789
Yeah, who would know better than *checks notes* the lead writer of the Half-Life franchise.

Of course, what Laidlaw wrote wasn't the "original" script, that's not how games work. You don't write a script and say turn that into a game. It's a collaborative process that evolves with development. What Epitsle 3 is, is Laidlaw's vision of the ending of Episode 3. What he likely would have pushed for at that point.
I hope you realize that, in the interview, Walker brings up that the main reason HL3 didn’t go forward was because the team couldn’t find a collective vision of the next game. That includes Laidlaw, whose other drafts of the game clearly didn’t resonate with the team. That wasn’t the ending they planned. That was an ending he proposed at some point and later shared online.
 

BossAttack

Member
Oct 27, 2017
19,898
I hope you realize that, in the interview, Walker brings up that the main reason HL3 didn’t go forward was because the team couldn’t find a collective vision of the next game. That includes Laidlaw, whose other drafts of the game clearly didn’t resonate with the team. That wasn’t the ending they planned. That was an ending he proposed at some point and later shared online.
And?

That's Laidlaw's view of the ending as the lead writer, I don't care what Walker thinks about it. Also, vision means more than story as they clearly couldn't decide what the big gameplay hook would be.
 

MillionIII

Member
Sep 11, 2018
4,022
And?

That's Laidlaw's view of the ending as the lead writer, I don't care what Walker thinks about it. Also, vision means more than story as they clearly couldn't decide what the big gameplay hook would be.
Valve just made an excellent Half Life game without him, I respect his work but maybe he is not the be all end all when it comes to it.
 

Sibylus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,758
To, uh, expand on that, wow. Half-Life has been near and dear to me for a very long time, and Alyx is both a fantastic Half-Life game AND continues the journey in ways that set my mind spinnin' and my body tremblin'. Spectacular job from everyone at Valve.

... Alyx as the protag of VR SP HL and Gordon as the protag of flat co-op HL? A girl can dream.
 

Triscuitable

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,789
Valve just made an excellent Half Life game without him, I respect his work but maybe he is not the be all end all when it comes to it.
Laidlaw was heavily consulted on this game. Does that mean anything to you?
Both excellent points. Laidlaw is a good writer. He is also not the gospel voice of Half-Life, and to say he's the only person who matters when it comes to how the story resolves itself is disrespectful to all the other talented writers and developers at Valve.
 

EatChildren

Wonder from Down Under
Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,594
I think even Laidlaw's original ideas spilled out on Twitter would have changed dramatically had Half-Life: Episode 3 production moved forward. As is the case for more or less every game, but especially Valve's, which are subjective to important story beats being influenced by game design and production restraints. The classic example being the "slow teleport" in Half-Life 2, which ultimately became a pretty strong cornerstone of the Combine lore, battle against the resistance, and necessity to research alternate technologies. In reality the "slow teleport" was the result of production issues; Valve were running out of time and needed to get Gordon and Alyx from the Combine base back to City 17. With no playable levels to fill the gaps and production windows closing they inserted the slow teleport idea and the rest is history.

I still feel this ending is awful. Time travel retcons are fundamentally bad writing as far as I'm concerned, particularly in their laziness, and I'm really disappointed this is the direction they took. People will argue that it fits the series and G-Man and lore but it doesn't really. It's just overruling Episode 2's ending with convenient space magic for no reason, while inserting new complexities into the lore that were never there. For all its ambiguity as to the G-Man, the multiple dimensions, etc, there wasn't really any mystique as to the passage of time and causality. Time still operated with linearity and there was direct, irreversible causality from actions. Not so much now.

Is what it is though. I guess we'll have to wait and see where the series future goes. I do think now, more than ever, there is a legit probability of Half-Life continuing in VR form. Valve did essentially make four games back-to-back using Source 1 and the Half-Life formula. VR Half-LIfe is a single entry, so there's plenty of room to grow before burnout, and I can imagine having a fully stabilised build of Source 2 and such overwhelmingly positive reception is givng the teams a big motivational boost. I do wonder if we'll see Portal 3 first though.
 

Spider-Man

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,292
I think even Laidlaw's original ideas spilled out on Twitter would have changed dramatically had Half-Life: Episode 3 production moved forward. As is the case for more or less every game, but especially Valve's, which are subjective to important story beats being influenced by game design and production restraints. The classic example being the "slow teleport" in Half-Life 2, which ultimately became a pretty strong cornerstone of the Combine lore, battle against the resistance, and necessity to research alternate technologies. In reality the "slow teleport" was the result of production issues; Valve were running out of time and needed to get Gordon and Alyx from the Combine base back to City 17. With no playable levels to fill the gaps and production windows closing they inserted the slow teleport idea and the rest is history.

I still feel this ending is awful. Time travel retcons are fundamentally bad writing as far as I'm concerned, particularly in their laziness, and I'm really disappointed this is the direction they took. People will argue that it fits the series and G-Man and lore but it doesn't really. It's just overruling Episode 2's ending with convenient space magic for no reason, while inserting new complexities into the lore that were never there. For all its ambiguity as to the G-Man, the multiple dimensions, etc, there wasn't really any mystique as to the passage of time and causality. Time still operated with linearity and there was direct, irreversible causality from actions. Not so much now.

Is what it is though. I guess we'll have to wait and see where the series future goes. I do think now, more than ever, there is a legit probability of Half-Life continuing in VR form. Valve did essentially make four games back-to-back using Source 1 and the Half-Life formula. VR Half-LIfe is a single entry, so there's plenty of room to grow before burnout, and I can imagine having a fully stabilised build of Source 2 and such overwhelmingly positive reception is givng the teams a big motivational boost. I do wonder if we'll see Portal 3 first though.
There is plenty of time travel and bending of space time throughout the entire series all the way back to HL1 and the expansions.

Tons of hints of the G-Man’s interest in Alyx in Episode 2.

What they did here was perfect and fits in extremely well with everything setup in the series so far.
 

LavaBadger

Member
Nov 14, 2017
2,360
I can't get over the script and voice acting for Alyx (The script in particular makes it hard to act well, I'm sure). It's really amateurish. Definitely takes away from that conclusion.