OPEN SPOILERS : Half-Life Alyx ending

Sibylus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,758
I just realized that the vortigaunt you meet early in the game says that Eli is dead or will be and that Alyx alone can't prevent his fate. I thought he was talking about saving Eli from the train but he was actually foreshadowing the ending.
Indeed! And just like his directions, nobody thought that he was being literal.

Why co-op? HL3 or whatever it's called should be solo with Gordon.
If they want to go the Portal 2 route, it'd be different characters again (Barney and Shepard for example).
I reckon we won't get another Pancake-Life if there isn't something big Valve thinks they can do with it, and innovating on co-op strikes me as an obvious chioce. Also presents a rare opportunity to spread that burden and code with a future L4D title and speed them both along as complementary SP/MP opposites.
 

jokkir

Member
Oct 25, 2017
946
What would the next game be? Finding the Borealis or..? I'm half in on this ending but time travel stuff is kinda... Eh
 

HylianSeven

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Oct 25, 2017
5,800
I'm probably going to start another playthrough of it today, and will take a closer look at this when I get there, but has anyone come up with any interpretation of the guy in the apartment buildings? I thought maybe it was G-man in civvie clothes for some reason, but didn't completely understand why. It seemed like something really open to interpretation.
 

HylianSeven

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Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,800
What would the next game be? Finding the Borealis or..? I'm half in on this ending but time travel stuff is kinda... Eh
I'm sure the Borealis will have to be dealt with in some way, but there will be a quest to get Alyx back for sure.

I kind of wonder if it will involve dealing with the G-man to do something about it.
 

BossAttack

Member
Oct 27, 2017
19,898
I don't like the ending because

-It's confusingly told, even for a time travel plot. Are there two Alyxes now? Just one - if so, which one? Did they merge? What did Gordon and Eli see? In a future game will we just meet Present Alyx, who suddenly remembers that one time five years ago she went on this adventure and met G-Man and forgot about it up until the ambush in the hangar?

-As mentioned, vortigaunts and the G-Man have the ability to manipulate and/or perceive reality and time differently from humans, but being able to... retroactively/proactively change the future-past has never been a thing, and is a remarkably large jump in power that raises the question of why this has never been used before.

-The active introduction of multiple timelines or history rewriting is a deeply tricky one, and one I greatly dislike for how it not only confuses plots (see above) but removes stakes. When everything is possible, everything becomes meaningless.

-Every Half-Life has a dreary bummer ending where you win the battle but whether you won the war is uncertain; this one not only literally undoes the previous ending, it completely shifts the focus of the cliffhanger. Episode Two stood out among all the downer Half-Life endings because:
A) it set up a concrete goal (the Borealis and its never-quite-defined technology),​
B) it set up a major character development (Alyx having to cope with her father's death),​
C) it set up major potential conflicts (Alyx wanting to honor her father's last wish of destroying the Borealis while Mossman wanted to use it, and whether her loss would cause her to do something rash; whether the Advisor sucking Eli's brains gave them some kind of secrets of the Resistance movement that makes things much harder; whether the G-Man would replace us with Alyx a ala Epistle 3 or we'd be forced to return to his clutches in exchange for his assistance), and​
D) we had so many years to stew on those exact questions, while the prospect of the Next Half-Life Game became more and more of an impassioned dream.​
Now so much of that is thrown out or lessened, and the conflict is refocused on something else that, frankly, is much less interesting. Alyx's connection to the G-Man isn't, as in Episode Two and Epistle 3, something that began in Black Mesa, but is now closely tied to... an adventure five years before Episode Two that Alyx has never mentioned or seemingly forgotten about (or "our" Alyx never even experienced? See the first bullet point). Her character arc is no longer tied to becoming a leader and making decisions while dealing with grief, but being kidnapped because a past/alternate(?) version of herself five years ago made a rash, sudden, and uninformed decision based on a magical vision of the last game that was never hinted at before this game. The central conflict is now longer dealing with the Borealis while wondering what the G-Man's scheme vis-à-vis Alyx is and coping with Eli's death: it's Princess Alyx being kidnapped by the evil dark lord G-non - but don't worry, King Eli has been revived by the Triforce, and he hands you the Master Crowbar! Save my daughrer, Gordon! Oh, and that Borealis thing is still there too, maybe, I guess.


It just feels completely deflating. "Deflating" is a deliberate term on my part, because it feels exactly like this big balloon of tension was being blown up and this ending just unceremoniously lets all the air out slowly.
Bingo.
 

Asbsand

Member
Oct 30, 2017
8,439
Denmark
Also people are assuming you play as Gordon in the next one to save Alyx. It would be way more interesting if it was following Alyx's next adventure though or, and I could totally see this happening/most likely, switching between Alyx and Gordon's pov.
None of that will matter if they move forward with the same loose approach to reality and plotting of HL's world as this.

Don't get me wrong, Half Life was always vague as heck when it comes to lore. Marc Laidlaw himself described it as "worldless storytelling" but that's because he doesn't know what exists in the world he made outside of what was required for the game. But now we've gotten very specific about a specific time-traveling contraption and it makes the universe come across as more cartoony as ever to me. That sense of tension and uncertainty I've felt for years about the Gman has been replaced with an expectation for absurdity. The intrigue is gone now, because I no longer feel like there's something smart lying ahead about what Gman is doing this stuff for, because if we can just rectify events through time travel, the causality of plot can at any point be changed at the whim of any writer.

So there is no more storytelling to be had here unless they go forward dropping further time-travel specific plotting, and only use it to do time-skips or character relocation. Gordon never did anything successful through time traveling. He was only locked up in a time-gate until it was time to go back into reality or he was warped between planets and worlds in a linear time-frame. Once the floodgate is open the shark has been jumped. They need to reel that in immediately.
 

∀∃:ETURNA

Member
Oct 27, 2017
418
I'm in the party that finds the implications of this ending troubling. G-Man is literally utilized as a Deus Ex Machina to retcon Episode Two's ending, which goes against the writing featured in previous games. Furthermore, it shows that he's a being who can affect time non-linearly, which has never been suggested to us until now. How the Combine was able to contain an individual like this is beyond me considering their implied interests in Earth's portal technology, but I suppose implications from the campaign of Episode Three (Epistle 3) aren't being used from here on out, which is reasonable considering the series has new writers associated with it.

I feel like the utilization of time travel is a lazy move to just push the series forward. Sure, they found convenient factors from the previous games which allow it to fit in by some degree, but I can't help but feel that the implementation is an unnatural one for a series that heavily relied on causality.
 
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Patison

Member
Oct 27, 2017
163
I'm in the party that finds the implications of this ending troubling. G-Man is literally utilized as a Deus Ex Machina to retcon Episode Two's ending, which goes against the writing featured in previous games. Furthermore, it shows that he's a being who perceives time non-linearly, which has never been suggested to us until now. How the Combine was able to contain an individual like this is beyond me considering their implied interests in Earth's portal technology, but I suppose implications from the campaign of Episode Three (Epistle 3) aren't being used from here on out, which is reasonable considering the series has new writers associated with it.

I feel like the utilization of time travel is a lazy move to just push the series forward. Sure, they found convenient factors from the previous games which allow it to fit in by some degree, but I can't help but feel that the implementation is an unnatural one for a series that heavily relied on causality.
They used Vortigaunt power, which we've already been shown (in EP1 intro and in EP2 IIRC) he's weak against.
 

HylianSeven

Community Resetter
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Oct 25, 2017
5,800
I'm in the party that finds the implications of this ending troubling. G-Man is literally utilized as a Deus Ex Machina to retcon Episode Two's ending, which goes against the writing featured in previous games. Furthermore, it shows that he's a being who perceives time non-linearly, which has never been suggested to us until now. How the Combine was able to contain an individual like this is beyond me considering their implied interests in Earth's portal technology, but I suppose implications from the campaign of Episode Three (Epistle 3) aren't being used from here on out, which is reasonable considering the series has new writers associated with it.

I feel like the utilization of time travel is a lazy move to just push the series forward. Sure, they found convenient factors from the previous games which allow it to fit in by some degree, but I can't help but feel that the implementation is an unnatural one for a series that heavily relied on causality.
I don't think the Combine ever did contain him. In fact, I think they did actually have Gordon. I think the G-man was voluntarily there BECAUSE he knew Alyx was coming. The G-man likely left Gordon somewhere where the combine could get him in his stasis. The fact that the G-man wanted to replace Gordon with Alyx makes me think the Combine did in fact have Gordon in the vault.

The G-man can do a lot of wibbly wobbly shit, and we have known that since HL1. The ending of Alyx does rely on causality, especially because since Alyx wants to save Eli in the future, the unforeseen consequence of that is that Alyx must be "hired" and replace Gordon, and ends up being taken by the G-man as a result of that. The way I see it, G-man allowing Alyx to save Eli was an exchange for her employment.

One thing I didn't realize until I saw it pointed out in a video, was the G-man saying Gordon was "uncooperative" was a reference to what happened at the start of Episode 1 when the vortigaunts keep the G-man away, and he says "We'll see about that."
 

Actinium

Member
Oct 27, 2017
801
California
Couldn't they have avoided the causality fudging by just pulling the old chronotrigger swap instead? Like, it has to be less taxing for g-man (and our narrative acceptance) to make an Eli blood puppet and swap it in for reali the instant before he gets brained, rather than twist back the entire timeline and undo events from ever taking place, right? Then the players/freemang would still have seen exactly what they saw in ep2, it just wouldn't have been what they thought they were seeing.
 

Gorgosh

Member
Oct 26, 2017
531
Yeah, I just shat some bricks during that ending. HOLY FUCKING SHIT. GIVE ME HALF LIFE 3 VR NOWWWWWW!!!!!
 

eot

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,721
Eh, it's lame to effectively retcon their own ending and a cheap way to get people to care. It's just stringing people along, not good storytelling. I'm sure it'll work though.
 

mathewolson

Member
Aug 27, 2019
3
The spoiler-y part of my interview with Erik Wolpaw and Chris Remo just went live at USgamer—enjoy!

"Some of it was a little bit of desperation," says Wolpaw of settling on this ending. "We had two problems: one is, it's a prequel, and we've got these characters where you know their fate, so how do you set up any stakes for them? Secondly, the whole plot revolved around the idea that you're basically breaking God or Satan out of prison, and he owes you a favor. What's he going to do?

"Believe us, when we first thought of it, we were like 'no, we're not going to keep this.' Then we kept [thinking] no, wait, we could do this. We may have even pitched it to Chris this way; everyone we pitched to, we said, 'We're about to pitch you this ending, and you're gonna hate it, but just sit on it for a second. Just think about it.'"
 

Rygar 8Bit

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Oct 25, 2017
6,782
Site-15
How I see it is she was from another reality/timeline, you can see this type of thing in the level leading to the ending with the buildings being duplicated and put ontop of each other. So everything that Alyx did in HL2 all the way to the ending still happened, but in the end a past Alyx shows up and either merges with future Alyx or swaps places with future Alyx. We'll see how they handle it, but I'm extremely excited for what's next.
 

TheRed

Member
Oct 31, 2017
880
I just finished the game today and was amazed. I understand people not liking time travel stuff but I found gman still really interesting and I just want to know more about him and his motivations than I ever personally did before. Maybe it's because I played it and didn't just watch the video and that impacted the enjoyment because it really felt like an experience.

And omg that after credits scene had such good graphics, I really wanted to see or build DOG this whole time and he looked amazing in VR. Literally everything looked amazing in that final scene. Looking down and seeing Gordon's hands instead was awesome, then being handed the crowbar and having to physically grab it felt amazing and got me so hyped.

Felt like we were literally walking right into the start of Half Life 3 with the training wheels of Half-Life: Alyx just now coming off. With crazy shit about to go down. It got me very excited for a bigger and even better game coming right up.

I genuinely hope Valve is cooking up Half Life 3 for real right now, and it actually releases in just a few years. Hopefully in VR because with that ending I really need to play as Gordon in VR now.
 

Sibylus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,758
I'm not sure if there was a written description. I saw a pencil sketch and his dialogue. That was the starting point. I knew one of the things that I think is true of G-Man is that he has permissions that most people don't. He can travel through time and he can travel in and out of spaces.
The way G-Man speaks is a form of music. What you said to me suggests a kind of transportation, a translation, a kind of transformation and adaptation that’s happening. I hear the music in G-Man’s voice. I’ve acted for many years and I’m also a musician and so that’s a mode of communication that is very organic to me.

So there’s an a-tempo [offbeat, without tempo] to the formulation of his thoughts that reveals a number of things. There's a lot going on inside G-Man’s head that we don't know about and I can tell you, without revealing too much, there's a lot of story and we haven’t received all of it yet. That’s backstory and fore-story. Time isn’t really a confining element for G-Man.
 

low-G

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,172
Yeah after that ending there's no way they can't make Half Life 3 and there's no way it won't be VR. I went in without spoilers so that flash forward was some shit. Although I was pretty sure someone like G-Man was being held captive... I LOVE how we get more lore, G-Man pretty coalesced in this one.

As far as the plot itself, I loved it. I don't have any problems with the time travel stuff and it feels completely couched in the world. Maybe it's because I wasn't that moved by Eli's death, and the ending was more frustrating over time since there wasn't a followup, I was fine with them scribbling over it.
 
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Lunatic

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,469
I'm surprised that they didn't tie russell's story up. Was really expecting him to die by the end (like most people i guess). Wonder where he's hanging out or what became of him by HL2
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,918
I don't like the ending because

-It's confusingly told, even for a time travel plot. Are there two Alyxes now? Just one - if so, which one? Did they merge? What did Gordon and Eli see? In a future game will we just meet Present Alyx, who suddenly remembers that one time five years ago she went on this adventure and met G-Man and forgot about it up until the ambush in the hangar?

-As mentioned, vortigaunts and the G-Man have the ability to manipulate and/or perceive reality and time differently from humans, but being able to... retroactively/proactively change the future-past has never been a thing, and is a remarkably large jump in power that raises the question of why this has never been used before.

-The active introduction of multiple timelines or history rewriting is a deeply tricky one, and one I greatly dislike for how it not only confuses plots (see above) but removes stakes. When everything is possible, everything becomes meaningless.

-Every Half-Life has a dreary bummer ending where you win the battle but whether you won the war is uncertain; this one not only literally undoes the previous ending, it completely shifts the focus of the cliffhanger. Episode Two stood out among all the downer Half-Life endings because:
A) it set up a concrete goal (the Borealis and its never-quite-defined technology),​
B) it set up a major character development (Alyx having to cope with her father's death),​
C) it set up major potential conflicts (Alyx wanting to honor her father's last wish of destroying the Borealis while Mossman wanted to use it, and whether her loss would cause her to do something rash; whether the Advisor sucking Eli's brains gave them some kind of secrets of the Resistance movement that makes things much harder; whether the G-Man would replace us with Alyx a ala Epistle 3 or we'd be forced to return to his clutches in exchange for his assistance), and​
D) we had so many years to stew on those exact questions, while the prospect of the Next Half-Life Game became more and more of an impassioned dream.​
Now so much of that is thrown out or lessened, and the conflict is refocused on something else that, frankly, is much less interesting. Alyx's connection to the G-Man isn't, as in Episode Two and Epistle 3, something that began in Black Mesa, but is now closely tied to... an adventure five years before Episode Two that Alyx has never mentioned or seemingly forgotten about (or "our" Alyx never even experienced? See the first bullet point). Her character arc is no longer tied to becoming a leader and making decisions while dealing with grief, but being kidnapped because a past/alternate(?) version of herself five years ago made a rash, sudden, and uninformed decision based on a magical vision of the last game that was never hinted at before this game. The central conflict is now longer dealing with the Borealis while wondering what the G-Man's scheme vis-à-vis Alyx is and coping with Eli's death: it's Princess Alyx being kidnapped by the evil dark lord G-non - but don't worry, King Eli has been revived by the Triforce, and he hands you the Master Crowbar! Save my daughrer, Gordon! Oh, and that Borealis thing is still there too, maybe, I guess.


It just feels completely deflating. "Deflating" is a deliberate term on my part, because it feels exactly like this big balloon of tension was being blown up and this ending just unceremoniously lets all the air out slowly.
I highly agree with this, fantastic post
 

Border

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,790
I think it's also annoying that this "Deal With The Devil" ending is actually never set up as a deal with the devil. G-Man offers to change the timeline as a favor to Alyx for setting him free. He never lets on that she will be indebted to him. For all she knows he's just offering a little help as a thank you, but she ends up being conscripted to his cause.

It would have been more interesting if she made the decision knowing full well what it would mean. The fact that she's tricked/forced into it makes it feel kinda cheap. If G-Man can just force her to do whatever he wants, why even bother offering to save her dad?
 

TheRed

Member
Oct 31, 2017
880
I think it's also annoying that this "Deal With The Devil" ending is actually never set up as a deal with the devil. G-Man offers to change the timeline as a favor to Alyx for setting him free. He never lets on that she will be indebted to him. For all she knows he's just offering a little help as a thank you, but she ends up being conscripted to his cause.

It would have been more interesting if she made the decision knowing full well what it would mean. The fact that she's tricked/forced into it makes it feel kinda cheap. If G-Man can just force her to do whatever he wants, why even bother offering to save her dad?
Yeah it did seem a little rushed in that way when the offer came. I actually stood there for a little bit to see if they would discuss it more. Maybe they do if you stand there longer? But didn't seem like it so I just did it. The powered up gravity gloves felt so damn cool at the end of the game.
 

Sibylus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,758
I think it's also annoying that this "Deal With The Devil" ending is actually never set up as a deal with the devil. G-Man offers to change the timeline as a favor to Alyx for setting him free. He never lets on that she will be indebted to him. For all she knows he's just offering a little help as a thank you, but she ends up being conscripted to his cause.

It would have been more interesting if she made the decision knowing full well what it would mean. The fact that she's tricked/forced into it makes it feel kinda cheap. If G-Man can just force her to do whatever he wants, why even bother offering to save her dad?
G-Man, for whatever reason, seems to get a sadistic thrill from punking on Eli. And he just did it again despite pushing him out of the path of a proverbial train!
 

BossAttack

Member
Oct 27, 2017
19,898
I think it's also annoying that this "Deal With The Devil" ending is actually never set up as a deal with the devil. G-Man offers to change the timeline as a favor to Alyx for setting him free. He never lets on that she will be indebted to him. For all she knows he's just offering a little help as a thank you, but she ends up being conscripted to his cause.

It would have been more interesting if she made the decision knowing full well what it would mean. The fact that she's tricked/forced into it makes it feel kinda cheap. If G-Man can just force her to do whatever he wants, why even bother offering to save her dad?
Yeah, like how can it be a "Deal with the Devil" when you have no idea you're dealing with the Devil? Shit, we the play know more about the G-Man and he's never been portrayed as some sort of evil, devil. He's the one that's helped us out on several occasions, the fact is we have no idea what he wants or if he's ultimately helping us or screwing us.
 

dtraposo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,277
Is there any Portal lore / easter egg stuff in this game? I'm aware of the incinerator gag on the one guy's computer but that's it.
 

Border

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,790
Yeah, like how can it be a "Deal with the Devil" when you have no idea you're dealing with the Devil? Shit, we the play know more about the G-Man and he's never been portrayed as some sort of evil, devil. He's the one that's helped us out on several occasions, the fact is we have no idea what he wants or if he's ultimately helping us or screwing us.
G-Man openly says that Gordon has not been performing as they want him to. So clearly people conscripted into G-Man's service retain some amount of free will, and can choose not to follow his instructions.

It may be the case that G-Man resurrects Eli not as a favor, and not as a part of some unholy contract, but just as a means of leverage over Alyx. He can command her to do anything, and if she refuses then he just says "Okay well then I'm going to revert things back to the timeline where your father died." So if she refuses him he can effectively kill her father. The only problem with this scenario is that it's just ridiculous. If you are as powerful as G-Man, why would you need to wait for some external happenstance to kill Eli? Why not just threaten Alyx by saying "Do what we want or we will kill your family"?
 

Lunatic

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,469
Wasn't there two advisors in the EP 2 ending? I wonder if they forgot, or a purposeful hint to a how the timeline seems to have changed...

edit: just saw it again to refresh my memory. I forgot myself that Dog scares it off after a good bashing.
 

Mindfreak191

Member
Dec 2, 2017
1,452
Finished it 10 minutes ago, and I almost screamed out loud when it switched to Gordon after the credits, literally jumped up and down like a little kid when Eli offered the crowbar, I also have nothing against the retcon, it works for that universe, and having replayed all of the games a week before this, I had a feeling that even back then there was a chance that they would bring Eli back in some way (it seemed like the advisor was "downloading" his brain). My hopes now are that we get a sequel in VR again, but seeing that Valve wouldn't want to anger their fanbase, unfortunately chances are that it's going to be a normal "flatscreen" version, if there is a sequel. All in all, gaming moment of the decade for me (although it's the beginning of the decade lol).
 

Zor

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,213
I'm surprised that some folks really disliked the handing of the crowbar moment, or felt it was cringeworthy. For me, it was a fourth-wall-breaking message from Valve to players, as if their retconning couldn't have made things clearer: this isn't the end, Half-Life 3 is coming, we want to give you confidence in us, you'll literally pick up the crowbar again one day.
 

tkato

Member
Oct 27, 2017
588
Finished just a few minutes ago, jesus what a friggin ride!!!!! please Valve make a sequel, Alyx 2, HL3 whatever, hell, give me a VR Dog game, shit was superb!.
I had a feeling we were freeing the G-Man ever since they started saying Gordon is in there, but didn't expect we'd get to see him and jump in time, amazing ending and very emotional if you're invested in the series, just 10/10
 

Lunatic

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,469
So after a bit of a think, what I gathered is that the events in this game might be an act of retribution by G-Man after Gordon periodically escapes his grasp during the events of EP1. (he mentions Gordon not following his instructions or something like that to Alyx)In EP2 He tells Freeman to take her to White Forest knowing it would result in Eli's death, then went back in time and allowed himself to be captured by the Combine (surely they didn't legitimately trap him? this guy seems far too powerful and slippery for that) in a attempt to have Alyx, who he alone already saw potential in when he saved her from BM as a child, prove her worth to his "employers" by freeing him. Add in the bargaining chip of saving her dad in the future, this results in Alyx replacing Freeman. Not sure if this results in a 2nd timeline or what though, in my mind that detail is quite murky.


Or am I thinking too much about it? Only way it makes sense to me at the moment though.
 
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JoJoDentCo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,417
Finished it 10 minutes ago, and I almost screamed out loud when it switched to Gordon after the credits, literally jumped up and down like a little kid when Eli offered the crowbar, I also have nothing against the retcon, it works for that universe, and having replayed all of the games a week before this, I had a feeling that even back then there was a chance that they would bring Eli back in some way (it seemed like the advisor was "downloading" his brain). My hopes now are that we get a sequel in VR again, but seeing that Valve wouldn't want to anger their fanbase, unfortunately chances are that it's going to be a normal "flatscreen" version, if there is a sequel. All in all, gaming moment of the decade for me (although it's the beginning of the decade lol).
I just finished and this is how I feel. I'm so happy right now. Half-life is what got me into video games and this long awaited game is so much more than what I expected!
 

tkato

Member
Oct 27, 2017
588
So after a bit of a think, what I gathered is that the events in this game might be an act of retribution by G-Man after Gordon periodically escapes his grasp during the events of EP1. (he mentions Gordon not following his instructions or something like that to Alyx)In EP2 He tells Freeman to take her to White Forest knowing it would result in Eli's death, then went back in time and allowed himself to be captured by the Combine (surely they didn't legitimately trap him? this guy seems far too powerful and slippery for that) in a attempt to have Alyx, who he alone already saw potential in when he saved her from BM as a child, prove her worth to his "employers" by freeing him. Add in the bargaining chip of saving her dad in the future, this results in Alyx replacing Freeman. Not sure if this results in a 2nd timeline or what though, in my mind that detail is quite murky.


Or am I thinking too much about it? Only way it makes sense to me at the moment though.
I think at this point it may be safe to assume the G-man has some kind of power that allows him to move between timelines, but he can't do a lot about them, I think he did get captured by the combine which is the reason Gordon was gone for so long, so maybe ep 3 Gman went back in time and got captured knowing alyx will come, got her under his thumb for allowing her to change the main timeline. Valve went full string theory with this one so who tf knows
 

Mad_Rhetoric

Member
May 7, 2019
817
Just beat the game, holy shit I need to get my thoughts down lol. OK so here's what I think happened:

Sometime between the ending of HL1 and HLA the Combine manage to capture/contain the Gman using the harvested powers of the Vorts. At the end of HLA, 19yo Alyx unwittingly releases the Gman from the vault. The Gman then takes her to the future to Save Eli(similar to how Eli apparently made a deal with Gman to save Alyx as a baby from Black Mesa during HL1) and "hires" her in that same moment. Gman then wipes Alyx's memory and places her back in her own original time. Eli probably knows something must have happened involving the Gman, but never says anything to Alyx because hes worried and wants to protect her. Then the events of HL2/ep1/ep2 go on to play out (with Alyx never being aware that she was under Gman's watch/influence the entire time), but now Eli lives at the end of Ep2 because of Gman/Alyx's actions. From Eli/Gordon's perspective, they're both restrained by the Advisors and all of a sudden there's a flash and a bolt of lightning or something fries the Advisor out of nowhere and 25yo Alyx is just gone, disappeared. Eli knows Gman must have taken her(being the "unforeseen consequences"), and gives Gordon the crowbar to continue in HL3, with all the same original stakes still present like the Borealis and saving Mossman, but now with the added stake of finding/saving Alyx.

There are obviously several big questions remaining, such as who was the shadow-woman talking to the Advisor? Why does she mention Gman was a "survivor of Black Mesa"? And how/when did Gman get captured by the Combine? And did Gman still have Gordon in stasis while he was imprisoned?
 

JoJoDentCo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,417
Just beat the game, holy shit I need to get my thoughts down lol. OK so here's what I think happened:

Sometime between the ending of HL1 and HLA the Combine manage to capture/contain the Gman using the harvested powers of the Vorts. At the end of HLA, 19yo Alyx unwittingly releases the Gman from the vault. The Gman then takes her to the future to Save Eli(similar to how Eli apparently made a deal with Gman to save Alyx as a baby from Black Mesa during HL1) and "hires" her in that same moment. Gman then wipes Alyx's memory and places her back in her own original time. Eli probably knows something must have happened involving the Gman, but never says anything to Alyx because hes worried and wants to protect her. Then the events of HL2/ep1/ep2 go on to play out (with Alyx never being aware that she was under Gman's watch/influence the entire time), but now Eli lives at the end of Ep2 because of Gman/Alyx's actions. From Eli/Gordon's perspective, they're both restrained by the Advisors and all of a sudden there's a flash and a bolt of lightning or something fries the Advisor out of nowhere and 25yo Alyx is just gone, disappeared. Eli knows Gman must have taken her(being the "unforeseen consequences"), and gives Gordon the crowbar to continue in HL3, with all the same original stakes still present like the Borealis and saving Mossman, but now with the added stake of finding/saving Alyx.

There are obviously several big questions remaining, such as who was the shadow-woman talking to the Advisor? Why does she mention Gman was a "survivor of Black Mesa"? And how/when did Gman get captured by the Combine? And did Gman still have Gordon in stasis while he was imprisoned?
You wrote it up exactly how I would. Thumbs up! Amazing amazing game.
 

tkato

Member
Oct 27, 2017
588
I don't like the ending because

-It's confusingly told, even for a time travel plot. Are there two Alyxes now? Just one - if so, which one? Did they merge? What did Gordon and Eli see? In a future game will we just meet Present Alyx, who suddenly remembers that one time five years ago she went on this adventure and met G-Man and forgot about it up until the ambush in the hangar?

-As mentioned, vortigaunts and the G-Man have the ability to manipulate and/or perceive reality and time differently from humans, but being able to... retroactively/proactively change the future-past has never been a thing, and is a remarkably large jump in power that raises the question of why this has never been used before.

-The active introduction of multiple timelines or history rewriting is a deeply tricky one, and one I greatly dislike for how it not only confuses plots (see above) but removes stakes. When everything is possible, everything becomes meaningless.

-Every Half-Life has a dreary bummer ending where you win the battle but whether you won the war is uncertain; this one not only literally undoes the previous ending, it completely shifts the focus of the cliffhanger. Episode Two stood out among all the downer Half-Life endings because:
A) it set up a concrete goal (the Borealis and its never-quite-defined technology),​
B) it set up a major character development (Alyx having to cope with her father's death),​
C) it set up major potential conflicts (Alyx wanting to honor her father's last wish of destroying the Borealis while Mossman wanted to use it, and whether her loss would cause her to do something rash; whether the Advisor sucking Eli's brains gave them some kind of secrets of the Resistance movement that makes things much harder; whether the G-Man would replace us with Alyx a ala Epistle 3 or we'd be forced to return to his clutches in exchange for his assistance), and​
D) we had so many years to stew on those exact questions, while the prospect of the Next Half-Life Game became more and more of an impassioned dream.​
Now so much of that is thrown out or lessened, and the conflict is refocused on something else that, frankly, is much less interesting. Alyx's connection to the G-Man isn't, as in Episode Two and Epistle 3, something that began in Black Mesa, but is now closely tied to... an adventure five years before Episode Two that Alyx has never mentioned or seemingly forgotten about (or "our" Alyx never even experienced? See the first bullet point). Her character arc is no longer tied to becoming a leader and making decisions while dealing with grief, but being kidnapped because a past/alternate(?) version of herself five years ago made a rash, sudden, and uninformed decision based on a magical vision of the last game that was never hinted at before this game. The central conflict is now longer dealing with the Borealis while wondering what the G-Man's scheme vis-à-vis Alyx is and coping with Eli's death: it's Princess Alyx being kidnapped by the evil dark lord G-non - but don't worry, King Eli has been revived by the Triforce, and he hands you the Master Crowbar! Save my daughrer, Gordon! Oh, and that Borealis thing is still there too, maybe, I guess.


It just feels completely deflating. "Deflating" is a deliberate term on my part, because it feels exactly like this big balloon of tension was being blown up and this ending just unceremoniously lets all the air out slowly.
I think the idea is G-Man in EP1 decided to go back in time to see if Alyx would be a good replacement to Gordon as he's not obedient, at the end of the game she chooses to save her father resulting in the retcon, in a way nothing really changed too much, Eli is alive and Alyx has been given new importance.
While I agree that time-travel is a cop-out (at least to me), 13 years had passed since the last entry, they needed a new direction, something else, even reading the EP3 script you can tell it actually, kinda sucks, it's just not very interesting.
Now we got 2 main characters, the G-Man as a cosmic horror villain and new stakes for the next one.

I'm down with the ending, it wasn't very clean, but it mixed things up and prepared ground for new stories in this universe, not too bad.
 

tkato

Member
Oct 27, 2017
588
I do wonder if HL 3 will be VR or not. It kind of made sense for Alyx to be in VR - the smaller confrontations etc.

But how can Gordon go from doing everything he has done in the past - to only ever taking on a handful of enemies.

I don't hate the ending. Just keen to see where things go.
Honestly at this point, if they release HL3 or another game in series NOT in VR, I'll be pissed. Playing this felt like playing HL2 for the first time, it was FRESH, I don't see how HL3 in the current normal gaming atmosphere can do anything fresh, they should stick with the new medium and see how they can elevate it, they've done so much with Alyx that it was truly freaking amazing.
 

Cindres

Member
Oct 28, 2017
630
Just beat the game, holy shit I need to get my thoughts down lol. OK so here's what I think happened:

Sometime between the ending of HL1 and HLA the Combine manage to capture/contain the Gman using the harvested powers of the Vorts. At the end of HLA, 19yo Alyx unwittingly releases the Gman from the vault. The Gman then takes her to the future to Save Eli(similar to how Eli apparently made a deal with Gman to save Alyx as a baby from Black Mesa during HL1) and "hires" her in that same moment. Gman then wipes Alyx's memory and places her back in her own original time. Eli probably knows something must have happened involving the Gman, but never says anything to Alyx because hes worried and wants to protect her. Then the events of HL2/ep1/ep2 go on to play out (with Alyx never being aware that she was under Gman's watch/influence the entire time), but now Eli lives at the end of Ep2 because of Gman/Alyx's actions. From Eli/Gordon's perspective, they're both restrained by the Advisors and all of a sudden there's a flash and a bolt of lightning or something fries the Advisor out of nowhere and 25yo Alyx is just gone, disappeared. Eli knows Gman must have taken her(being the "unforeseen consequences"), and gives Gordon the crowbar to continue in HL3, with all the same original stakes still present like the Borealis and saving Mossman, but now with the added stake of finding/saving Alyx.

There are obviously several big questions remaining, such as who was the shadow-woman talking to the Advisor? Why does she mention Gman was a "survivor of Black Mesa"? And how/when did Gman get captured by the Combine? And did Gman still have Gordon in stasis while he was imprisoned?
I think I'm on board with this theory except that instead of him being captured he went back in time and allowed himself to be captured to lure Alyx in.

Well, either that or he could just see the future, in essence, and show that to her as his bargaining chip.

Either way I think he allowed his capture, I find it hard to believe he was caught with his pants down.
 
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Ionic

Member
Oct 31, 2017
1,995
Just beat the game and I felt a bit giddy at the post credits fan service. Do we have any idea how much the Vortigaunts in HL:Alyx knew about the Gman and his captivity in the vault?
 

dodo021

Member
Oct 27, 2017
73
For me this ending = Two new Half Life. One with Alyx (Half-Life: Alyx 2 ? in VR) and Half Life 3 in classic flat screen with Gordon.
 
Jul 26, 2019
94
I don't have much knowledge about how time travel rules should set up in a story. But retconning of ending of Episode 2 doesn't necessarily gave G-Man time manipulation powers and affecting multiple timelines, from what I gather.

If G-Man gave multiple choices to Alyx in the game about saving or not saving his father, it would be true that they gave G-Man a power that not seen in series before, and gave him power of manipulating time.

I didn't play the game but from what I gather, G-Man gave Alyx the illusion of choice and knew that Alyx would save his father no matter what. From the gameplay clips I watched, in the game there is no choice about this. Only choice is for Alyx to save his father, thus G-Man is same as before but in order to achieve this they retconned Episode 2 ending.

That doesn't explain why Alyx don't remember this incident in HL2 but 'G-Man wiped her memory' theory would be plausible if that was the case.

Interesting thing that caught my attention is that, in the ending Alyx saves his father from Gordon's perspective. Alyx was on the left of Gordon on Ep2 ending and Alyx sees future from right in HL:A. I don't know if that was a metaphor about foreshadowing of G-man hiring Alyx to replace Gordon or is there something different about that. If they choose to do this willingly, this complicates things even further.
 

Asbsand

Member
Oct 30, 2017
8,439
Denmark
I reckon we won't get another Pancake-Life if there isn't something big Valve thinks they can do with it, and innovating on co-op strikes me as an obvious chioce. Also presents a rare opportunity to spread that burden and code with a future L4D title and speed them both along as complementary SP/MP opposites.
Resident Evil has proven multiple times how to do co-op with story-heavy content and action gameplay. But the last thing Half Life needs is something like L4D. A successful and popular service entry in the HL series would be the death of the IP.
Interesting thing that caught my attention is that, in the ending Alyx saves his father from Gordon's perspective. Alyx was on the left of Gordon on Ep2 ending and Alyx sees future from right in HL:A. I don't know if that was a metaphor about foreshadowing of G-man hiring Alyx to replace Gordon or is there something different about that. If they choose to do this willingly, this complicates things even further.
I'm already out of this ending concept the second it becomes a Christopher Nolan plot.
 

Asbsand

Member
Oct 30, 2017
8,439
Denmark
even reading the EP3 script you can tell it actually, kinda sucks, it's just not very interesting.
It was the natural conclusion to the Episodes saga and it was perfectly fine, and had that exact amount of mystery and intrigue with its GMan ending as it should have. With this game, there's no mystery left about Gman to me. He's just an open plot device that is willingly used to orchestrate the entire story now. Before he was a road-stopper, the developer's break-in to the real fiction that swept you out of the story and leaving you to wonder what the ramifications of the game was. Now they are playing with fire.
 

Asbsand

Member
Oct 30, 2017
8,439
Denmark
G-Man openly says that Gordon has not been performing as they want him to. So clearly people conscripted into G-Man's service retain some amount of free will, and can choose not to follow his instructions.
The real reason for this decision as far as the writing and planning goes is because Erik Wolpaw prefers non-silent protagonists, so going back to Gordon is not suitable for that future vision.
We don't know what he is or who he works for.
And we never should. Gman holds the direct end of the series in the palm of his hand. You can spoil it or come up with an answer where there currently obviously isn't one, and that would end the series. He is the reason the story begins and ends pretty much every time and otherwise he is in a retroactive fashion (a reveal later on that X thing that happened in, say HL1, was because of him).

It's a lynchean mystery. Much like many things went unanswered in Twin Peaks, it was the joy of watching those mysterious things appear that drove the series, and that's the effect the Gman has, but with the things he and Alyx do in this game, I feel it just doesn't build the same amount of intrigue because it becomes too specific how certain mechanics are at play, when previously it felt completely otherworldly.
 

Zor

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,213
I think I'm on board with this theory except that instead of him being captured he went back in time and allowed himself to be captured to lure Alyx in.

Well, either that or he could just see the future, in essence, and show that to her as his bargaining chip.

Either way I think he allowed his capture, I find it hard to believe he was caught with his pants down.
This is my take too. He let himself be captured.

In that sense, it's an in-continuity retcon where the emotional stakes were still very much relevant to Episode 2 in that timeline as it existed, and then G-Man used his knowledge of those events to go back, as a non-linear time-traveller, to create a new future to benefit himself and his employers going forward.

I really like it actually. It's still actually quite linear when you look at the major beats as they now exist in tandem with Episode 2.
 

Wollan

Mostly Positive
Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,961
Norway but living in France
I think we will see a 'normal' Half-Life 3 (Gordon) and VR Half-Life: Alyx 2 based on the ending.
It's somewhat hard for me to see how HL3 could live up to expectations at this point though. There's 'only' the throughput of production-values that they have to play with instead of fundamental new technologies (what HL is essentially known for). Maybe they can do some crazy parallel world gameplay stuff.
 

Asbsand

Member
Oct 30, 2017
8,439
Denmark
It's somewhat hard for me to see how HL3 could live up to expectations at this point though. There's 'only' the throughput of production-values that they have to play with instead of fundamental new technologies (what HL is essentially known for). Maybe they can do some crazy parallel world gameplay stuff.
Think of it this way: HL3 will be another clean slate like Half Life 2 was, not the continuation of HL2 or its episodes and how they ended. I think there was always a weird confusion within all the HL3 memes that "Valve promised HL3!" and they never did. They promised Episode 3 and now they have retconned its premise and voiding it, so we will likely never even need to get it.

So HL3 has a clean slate to make up whatever it wants for setting, enemies, mechanics and whatever Gordon will end up doing. As long as it is distantly tied to the canon of the previous two games and the Gman is somewhere in it, it will be Half Life.

It would be a rocket-punch hit within the early years of next-gen.