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Half-Life writer Marc Laidlaw writes interesting Breen fanfiction. HL3 plot points?

May 22, 2011
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Marc Laidlaw ( https://twitter.com/MarcLaidlaw/ ) the writer / lead writer of all of Valve's Half - Life titles, has written some interesting Dr. Breen fanfic.

First things first: this isn't the beginning of a HL3 ARG / marketing campaign. In his own words;

I am strongly anti-troll so let me be clear: @BreenGrub is me having fun with some things that I love. It's not an ARG. It is what it is.

@BreenGrub Culp is gone but Breen lives on. I have his voice in my head and sometimes it needs to come out. Culp brought that voice to life.

@BreenGrub Basically it's me writing Dr. Breen fanfic. I am his biggest fan!

And here's the tweet that grabbed my interest;

@DrAddicted There's some interesting stuff that only Dr. Breen knows. Maybe if he gets it out there, it will have an impact on the future.

While it's clear Breen's tweets are non-canon, that doesn't mean they can't point to upcoming HL3 plot points, right?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, the fanfic twitter account is: https://twitter.com/BreenGrub

But before we get to that, let's remember what happened to our favorite Dr.;

Half - Life 2 said:
Dr. Breen is talking to the Combine;

Dr. Breen: It is me you should be concerned about, I can still deliver earth but not without your help.

Dr. Breen: The portal destination is untenable surely you can set the relay
destination elsewhere. There is no way I can survive in that environment. A host body? You must be joking, there is no way I can possibly..

Dr. Breen: Oh alright dammit if that is what it takes. Just hurry! He is right behind me!

Half - Life 2 said:
Dr. Breen: Dr. Freeman, you really should not be out there. At the moment of synapse as I teleport this chamber will be bathed in deadly particles that have yet to be named by human science. Perhaps when I have the leisure to do the work myself, I will name one after you. That way you will not be completely forgotten. When the singularity collapses, I will be far away from here, in another universe in fact. You on the other hand will be destroyed in every way possible, and even some essentially impossible.

While in HL2 he is seen falling to his death and screaming "You need me!", I always entertained the idea that his consciousness might have been successfully uploaded to the other side of the portal in a Combine host body..

The name "BreenGrub" itself, certainly indicates a transformation of Breen and his avatar;



is the "Unused texture of the larval stage of a Combine Advisor found in the Episode Two games files." so it would look somewhat like this;



I think it's safe to say the fanfiction assumes Breen survived and is now in a Combine host body. Perhaps in an Advisor? Is he at the other side of the portal?

And here are his tweets; (you are meant to read them from bottom to top)



tl;dr Dr. Breen is a good guy, he tries to provide us with information to spark a revolution and win the war and I get the feeling we might just have to visit the Vortigaunts' world.....

@hscsguy I think he's incapable of harming us. But then again, what do I know? Can we believe him?

Unfortunately people went nuts thinking the twitter account is more than it is, or that it should be more than it is and Laidlaw for the moment has stopped writing more;

For all I know, confessing @BreenGrub will completely kill the fun of writing it. But I'd rather stop it than make people crazy speculating.

And it's a shame because;

@YoMeiso Thanks. I personally cannot give the world a Half-Life game. All I can personally do, at least for now, is stuff like this.

Discuss.
 

CheesecakeRecipe

Stormy Grey
Mar 27, 2012
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Being reminded that Rob Culp is gone just made me feel more depressed than the whole rest of the Half Life 3 situation. Breen's performance is one of my favorites in games and it sucks that the man who put it to life with such conviction is gone from this world.

Also sucks that Laidlaw has to reduce himself to a twitter account to get his universe out there again.
 

JaseC

gave away the keys to the kingdom.
Jul 30, 2009
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What Laidlaw says:
I am strongly anti-troll so let me be clear: @BreenGrub is me having fun with some things that I love. It's not an ARG. It is what it is.

What Half-Life fans hear:
I am strongly anti-troll so let me be clear: @BreenGrub is me having fun with some things that I love.
It's
not
an ARG.
It is what it is.

:p
 
D

Deleted member 80556

Unconfirmed Member
Shu'ulathoi? Was that mentioned in the HL games?
 

d0g_bear

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Jan 21, 2008
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I love this fiction - it's dark, unsettling - dare I say - kafkaesque? And it draws on our knowledge of the Half Life story without just being fanservice. It changes how we think of Dr Breen.
 

hitoshi

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May 28, 2006
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Anyway, you gotta wonder what's going on with HL3 if the freaking writer needs to do fan fiction instead of writing the bloody game.

Exactly. His line of thought is really great, as is his writing, but I think that saying things like "i have to get this out" and the way he did is is nothing but worrying regarding the state of a possible new Half-Life episode. I mean, if the official writer has to write a "fanfic", for me, that means Valve is not interested currently in continuing the series.
 
May 22, 2011
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Oh. Interesting, gotta replay the games.

Anyway, you gotta wonder what's going on with HL3 if the freaking writer needs to do fan fiction instead of writing the bloody game.

The writing part it not an issue according to him, they know exactly what EP3/HL3 is going to be about, since before EP1 was released. It's how you tell the story with gameplay that's challenging them. From an email response;

You say that the consensus is that our silence regarding Episode Three is due to our inability or difficulty in writing up a suitable story for the game? I admit I find that rather perplexing. When we had completed the final story for Half-Life 2, and when we decided to under-take the prospect of delivering episodic content to our audience, we knew that moving the story along in denser packages called for a more refined process. Issues needed to be addressed. Questions needed to be addressed. Answers needed to be given. We began writing a rough draft for the Episodes in very early 2005. We had a direction we wanted to take, an overarching story we wanted to tell, and very specific questions we wanted to resolve.

Telling a story in context with the gameplay we want to explore does not always work. Our medium has a great deal many more restrictions than, say, a book or a film. Books, for example, have no such external variables. With a game, you need a perfect equilibrium between the story you are telling and the gameplay you are offering. That is a complicated and constantly evolving task for us. We have a Bible of sorts. We know now all about the most important things in our story. So, no, in that sense I suppose we do not make it up as we go along. As I said, however, the story does not always bode well with what we want to deliver in terms of gameplay. The uncertainty is in our ability to move the greater story along in relation to that. That is where the difficulties lie.

Your fears about our ability to write and deliver the final chapter of the story for the arc are unfounded. We have had this particular story fleshed out since before Episode One was released. Our ‘silence’ as you have opted to call it has nothing to do with the story we have written.
 

Thermite

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I wonder what made Breen change his mind to betray the Combine?

Also pls give us another Half-Life game, Valve.
 
D

Deleted member 80556

Unconfirmed Member
The writing part it not an issue according to him, they know exactly what EP3/HL3 is going to be about, since before EP1 was released. It's how you tell the story with gameplay that's challenging them. From an email response;

Where did you get that email? That's a very good response. I'm glad that they're taking this route.
 

EmCeeGramr

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Jun 25, 2005
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Dr. Freeman, you really should not be out there. At the moment of synapse as I teleport this chamber will be bathed in deadly particles that have yet to be named by human science. Perhaps when I have the leisure to do the work myself, I will name one after you. That way you will not be completely forgotten. When the singularity collapses, I will be far away from here, in another universe in fact. You on the other hand will be destroyed in every way possible, and even some essentially impossible.

These are still some of the best lines in any game.
 
Nov 1, 2011
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Laidlaw is cool.

Super irritating that the wait for the next Half-Life had gone on so long that the voice actor for the series' best new character has died and their outstanding writer has to resort to Twitter fanfic to have some something to fucking do.

But no, by all means, let's get some more hats in TF2.
 

rrs

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Nov 18, 2012
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I think Breen wanted to screw over the Combine the whole time, but Gordon Freeman sped up his plans and had to act the part of interim dictator or the Combine would have terminated him.
 
Oct 11, 2009
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I think Breen wanted to screw over the Combine the whole time, but Gordon Freeman sped up his plans and had to act the part of interim dictator or the Combine would have terminated him.

I think Breen absolutely thought he was helping out the human race overall by working with the Combine as he did.
 

funkystudent

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Apr 3, 2010
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Didnt the Breen voice actor pass away a year or two ago?

Probably ruins any chance of that character returning which was probably gonna be a plot twist at some point.
 

Randdalf

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Sep 5, 2011
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Laidlaw is cool.

Super irritating that the wait for the next Half-Life had gone on so long that the voice actor for the series' best new character has died and their outstanding writer has to resort to Twitter fanfic to have some something to fucking do.

But no, by all means, let's get some more hats in TF2.

I think Laidlaw works on character dialog in Dota 2, or he used to at least.
 

Sibylus

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Dec 18, 2007
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Inner Half-Life fangirl is reeling, oh god OH GOD OH GOD

I think Breen absolutely thought he was helping out the human race overall by working with the Combine as he did.
This is my interpretation as well. Authoritarian and a control freak, but ultimately trying to plead by way of proving human usefulness to the Universal Union (this is most explicitly stated in his speech to the Overwatch detachment in Nova Prospekt).
 
Nov 5, 2010
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Didnt the Breen voice actor pass away a year or two ago?

Probably ruins any chance of that character returning which was probably gonna be a plot twist at some point.

If he was transferred into a host body they could easily use a different voice with some modulation on top to remind you of Culp.
 
May 22, 2011
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Marc Laidlaw continues, this time having Breen confirm he lives in a host body and describing the Combine Shu'ulathoi's life cycle! (A reminder: tweets are meant to be read from bottom to top).



Fascinating stuff!
 

EatChildren

Currently polling second in Australia's federal election (first in the Gold Coast), this feral may one day be your Bogan King.
Jan 29, 2008
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The Half-Life situation at Valve so desperate that their lead writer resorts to non-canon fan fiction on twitter.
 

Neuromancer

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If there is a Half Life 3 I hope it has nothing to do with 2, in the same way that 2 pretty much had nothing to do with 1. That's the only way I could get excited about it.

Anyway it sounds like this guy is just fooling around. I really wouldn't read too much into it.
 
May 22, 2011
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If there is a Half Life 3 I hope it has nothing to do with 2, in the same way that 2 pretty much had nothing to do with 1. That's the only way I could get excited about it.

Anyway it sounds like this guy is just fooling around. I really wouldn't read too much into it.

Then you won't be excited.
 

JaseC

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Jul 30, 2009
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If there is a Half Life 3 I hope it has nothing to do with 2, in the same way that 2 pretty much had nothing to do with 1. That's the only way I could get excited about it.

Anyway it sounds like this guy is just fooling around. I really wouldn't read too much into it.

Episode Two ended with a cliffhanger, so unless Valve actually does release Episode Three before Half-Life 3 to tie off the arc (incredibly unlikely if you ask me), the former will most certainly continue on from that point.

Is it 'gamer entitlement' to want some facts on this fucking game already? FUCK.

Fact: We know virtually nothing about it.
 

JaseC

gave away the keys to the kingdom.
Jul 30, 2009
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Remember when, in March 2011, Lombardi told Half-Life fans to "hang in there with us"? Only Valve would make people hang somewhere for over two years. ;)
 

Darkangel

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Jul 16, 2011
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If there is a Half Life 3 I hope it has nothing to do with 2, in the same way that 2 pretty much had nothing to do with 1. That's the only way I could get excited about it.

Anyway it sounds like this guy is just fooling around. I really wouldn't read too much into it.

I'll be somewhat disappointed if Half-life 3 is just an extended Episode 3 (though it probably will be).

I wish Valve would finish the Half-life 2 arc, then take Gordon somewhere radically different for Half-life 3 (like the Combine Overworld).
 
May 22, 2011
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Remember when, in March 2011, Lombardi told Half-Life fans to "hang in there with us"? Only Valve would make people hang somewhere for over two years. ;)

gabencrowbarthesethingstheytaketime.gif

I'll be pretty disappointed if Half-life 3 is just an extended Episode 3 (though it probably will be).

I wish they would finish the Half-life 2 arc, then take Gordon somewhere radically different (like the Combine Overworld).

If these tweets are an indication Marc has thought quite a bit about that place to be featured in a game.
 

Lotto

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How long ago was that when Gabe was hitting that crow bar three times? How can they tease us for this longgggg whyy
 
May 22, 2011
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More!



The more he writes, the more interesting it gets!!


A bit off topic but Remedy's Sam Lake recently admitted he writes Alan Wake fanfiction as Samantha on http://thishouseofdreams.blogspot.com , because he loves Alan Wake's world.

- Hey Sam! First, I wanted to thank you for doing this AMA. Alan Wake is my favorite game of all time, and I guess that many fans expected that Alan Wake 2 would be announced at the Xbox One event. Since this is not the case, I was wondering what's the deal with This House Of Dreams. It seemed to be pretty obvious that the blog is related to Alan Wake, but now it isn't? Does this have something to do with Quantum Break - Or better: Does this have anything to do with Alan Wake at all?

- Some things are us just doing things because we love what we do. The House of Dreams was that to me. It was continuing the story of Wake's world, and just having fun with a small side project. I had the time of my life writing it and it was a wonderful change of pace from the big projects. The excitement and attention it got came as a total surprise to me. Thank you for that!

- If you weren't working for Remedy, what studio could you see yourself being a part of?

- If you asked my colleague Mikki Rautalahti (an awesome writer), he'd say a dance studio. But the truth is, no studio probably, I'd be writing blogs like This House of Dreams, or novels. That's what I'll do when I retire.