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Half-Life 3 is more famous as a non-existent game than it probably would have been if it came out following a normal schedule. It is the go-to game for jokes about games that will never be released and a top comparison for games that have extreme delays. And it’s one of the most enduring jokes on the Internet to take various pieces of information and twist them into a false “confirmation” that Half-Life 3 exists.

If Valve ever really does make Half-Life 3, it will be the end of an era. The jokes will no longer apply. And Half-Life 3 will no longer hold its legendary status, but will be judged for its gameplay and content.

After all this time, would Half-Life 3 possibly live up to its hype and the reputation it holds?

Long-delayed games can be tricky. Sometimes, long delays are good things that help transform the final game into a polished, improved product. Other times, games are delayed for so long because of flaws that can’t be fixed, or the long development process hinders them and makes them outdated.

Duke Nukem Forever is a perfect example of that. It also was delayed for so long it became a running joke online, and when it finally did release, many fans considered it a disappointment. While many things about it were criticized, what a lot of it comes down to is that it felt outdated. It felt like a game that could have been released when its development first began.

If Half-Life 3 came out today, there’s a chance it would play like a much older game.

On the other hand, Half-Life 2 and Team Fortress 2 both had quite long development periods, and they turned out to be excellent, popular games. Since both are Valve games, that lends hope that Half-Life 3 would similarly fare well despite the number of years that have passed.

What do you think? If and when Half-Life 3 stops being a rumor and becomes an actual game, do you think it will live up to the reputation it has gained in its absence? Or do you think the release of Half-Life 3 might disappoint the fans who awaited it so long?