Going into detail on the first rumor a little more:
The rumor claimed that the game is never coming out, but it also claimed that there are “only” 10 people working on it. Ten is a very confusing number of people to have working on this. It seems like this number should either be much larger, or zero. Ten people is not a large enough team to make a AAA content-muncher happen. It would take them so long to finish that by the time they’re halfway done, the first content they made would be an entire graphics generation behind the times.
A rule of thumb I learned in my dot-com days: To figure out what it costs to employ someone, multiply their base salary by two. This is how much it costs the company to keep you, given that they pay various taxesThis was explained to me once but my eyes glazed over., health insurance for you, various other types of insurance for the company, and the company resources you consume. This is less true when you’re talking about executive pay, but for us rank-and-file mooks the “multiply by two” number seemed to hold well enough. Obviously your mileage may vary.
So ten mooks at Valve are supposedly working on Half-Life 3. I don’t know if we’re talking about ten artists, ten programmers, or ten Eric Wolpaws. Let’s just be conservative and say they all make $75k, which means Valve spends $150k on each one. Which means Valve would be spending a million and a half a year producing a game that will never come out, because the team isn’t even large enough to stay ahead of glacial forces like game engine turnover.
Then again, maybe they’re just prototyping ideas, and the plan is that the project will spin up once the gameplay crystallizes around a few core ideas. If they’re looking for something that’s as iconic and game-changing as the gravity gun, they might be in for a long search.
I’m not that upset that Half-Life 3 isn’t coming out, but I am kind of upset that nobody else has managed to fill this niche. Crysis tries, but it’s too loud, stupid, and clumsy to maintain any kind of tension, atmosphere, or sense of discovery. Wolfenstein is the closest thing we get these days. Those games are pretty good, but they’re not nearly as masterful as Half-Life at hiding their scripting and their rails.
 This was explained to me once but my eyes glazed over.
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