Half-Life 3 not in the works due to 'mo-cap issue,' claimed voice actor

Voice actor John Patrick Lowrie has been in multiple Valve games, from the original Half-Life 2 to the recent Dota 2. And he claims that Valve is actually not working on a Half-Life sequel at all.

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Valve's continued silence on the Half-Life franchise has been frustrating for fans, desperately wanting to believe that anything could be part of a viral marketing campaign to announce a sequel. Nearly six years have gone by since the release of Half-Life 2: Episode Two, and it appears fans will have to continue waiting.

Voice actor John Patrick Lowrie has been in multiple Valve games, from the original Half-Life 2 to the recent Dota 2. And he claims that Valve is actually not working on a Half-Life sequel at all.

Writing on his blog (via Kotaku), Lowrie claims that "the biggest challenge with bringing out HL3" is motion capture. Valve apparently wants to capture performances, but have yet to clear the technical hurdle of being able to make mo-cap interactive. "Once you film the actor doing something and capture that motion, that's what the character is going to do," he said. As a result, "as far as I know they are not developing HL3 now for several reasons, among them the mo-cap issue."

The comments have since been deleted, but prior to their removal, he did note that Valve doesn't "tell me their business plans," and that he has "no idea what they're planning for the future." So take his claims with a grain of salt--extracted from the tears rolling down your face at HL3's continued absence.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 16, 2013 7:30 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Half-Life 3 not in the works due to 'mo-cap issue,' claimed voice actor.

    Voice actor John Patrick Lowrie has been in multiple Valve games, from the original Half-Life 2 to the recent Dota 2. And he claims that Valve is actually not working on a Half-Life sequel at all.

    • reply
      August 16, 2013 7:32 AM

      I don't understand how this could be such a technical problem. Hasn't this been done before?

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        August 16, 2013 8:10 AM

        specifically interactive motion capture, which i dont think has been done.

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          August 16, 2013 8:12 AM

          What about Euphoria? Isn't it basically a blend of mo-cap and physics interactions?

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            August 16, 2013 10:07 AM

            I imagine Valve wants their own tech though.

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              August 16, 2013 10:13 AM

              Euphoria is about behavioral modeling interpolated on top of animation (mocap or keyframe/traditional). Valve is talking about visual system modeling, which is something literally no one else is doing.

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      August 16, 2013 7:49 AM

      Yet they'll release L4D & Portal without mo-cap?

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        August 16, 2013 8:09 AM

        Neither features human characters addressing you directly. In the case of L4D, the characters all talk into the space as they observe things, but not directly to you, and Portal doesn't include other humans.

        HL2 does; this is covered in the article.

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      August 16, 2013 7:55 AM

      ...and now I'm depressed. Thanks for ruining my weekend Yoon I hope you're happy.

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      August 16, 2013 8:14 AM

      Since when has Shacknews become Kotaku? Why are we posting rumors and speculation from folks who aren't directly involved in production?

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        August 16, 2013 8:17 AM

        pagehit++

      • reply
        August 16, 2013 8:25 AM

        signed

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        August 16, 2013 8:27 AM

        This started over a year or two ago.

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        August 16, 2013 8:33 AM

        you actually care what they put on the front page?

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        August 16, 2013 8:56 AM

        Since developer and publisher marketing firms decided to wind down interviews and interaction with gaming news outlets, and PR divisions became adversarial. All that's left (besides reguegitating what marketing pumps out via the prescribed schedule) is actual journalistic footwork, which sometimes involves scraping Twitter before posts get deleted, and referencing anonymous sources who are vetted.

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        August 16, 2013 10:40 AM

        But we're not gonna do Kickstarters without prototypes, yo, because we're practicing journalistic integrity.

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        August 16, 2013 12:23 PM

        deathofarts

      • reply
        August 16, 2013 12:41 PM

        Because press releases only are boring and old news by the time they become official.

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        August 16, 2013 12:42 PM

        This news article is pretty embarrassing even from the shack. It's a speculative instance post and it was reposted from Kotaku. This is some 9gag shit.

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        August 16, 2013 1:37 PM

        gamefly feeds on your tears

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        August 16, 2013 2:13 PM

        It's still not nearly as annoying as all the backseat writers who whine and moan about every article. We get it, you think Shacknews is the greatest affront to journalism ever, you're just here for the chatty. That's nice. No one fucking cares.

        It's the same half-dozen people too, every time. Look, if you guys hate the front page articles so much, why do you keep taking time out of your day to comment on them? You've already made your point. It's little more than threadshitting at this point.

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      August 16, 2013 8:15 AM

      That excuse sounds as bad as Call of Duty not having female soldiers due to an engine issue.

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      August 16, 2013 8:21 AM

      I don't understand this it seems to make no sense at all, I read it a couple of days ago and was like WTF.

      Is not the whole point of Mo Cap to film a specific action sequence, which is used for a single specific animation sequence example : barrel roll with weapon , in your game? It is not some dynamic animation mo cap where you sample a persons movement equivalent(if there was such a thing) of "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" and then magically creations any animation and movement you want(that be insane, that sounds impossible it makes no logical sense). How would that even work? My understanding it is 100% pre fab static and never had the concept dynamic or sample and then have a magically dynamic animation library based on a parsons proportions , muscle mass, movement, etc?

      I don't get it? I am not a 3D pro by any means bit this just seems like a WTF moment.

      Any one that knows or uses mop cap please fill us in if this makes any sens on what they are talking about?

      I call bullshit.

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        August 16, 2013 8:30 AM

        It makes perfect sense. Mocap is fantastic when you're capturing cutscenes (Last of Us) and movement (like the run cycles / turns, gun stances and firings in L4D). What Valve is concerned about isn't cutscenes or movement capturing though, they're concerned about facial expressions and contact (connection between the characters and your eyes). They spent years working on the Source 1 engine to get the characters to look at the correct locations, including properly line their eyes up and look at you, and right now mocap just cannot capture that.

        It can capture body position/postureing/and look between two (mocapped) characters, but since the player is always in control in a Valve game, they cannot blend the mocap capture to properly move shoulders, torso, and hips to focus on you as you move around.

        This is why most games have characters that just stare off into space when they (mocap) gesture, or oddly turn their heads to track you while the rest of the body doesn't follow the proper animation, and something Valve refuses to compromise on.

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          August 16, 2013 9:03 AM

          Hmmm yeah I see what your saying. Didn't LA Noire tech do this, I swear Metro last light does too(I could be wrong)? I have to fire it up but I thought it did it, LA Noire for sure?

          Anyways well I hope they find a solution, and soon we all do.

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            August 16, 2013 10:09 AM

            Nope and nope. LA Noire does facial capturing (texture data on top of modeled facial movement). Metro LL uses regular mocap.

            Valve is talking about dynamically adjusting the entire posture of the character to keep their attention focused squarely where they are looking. Mocap recordings are static. They can be interpolated, cleaned up, and adjusted, but you cannot use a mocap capture like that to have a character follow a dynamic player or object without getting that creepy head-on-a-stick look that most games settle for.

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              August 16, 2013 10:19 AM

              Huh intresting, LoioshDwaggie you are da man, cool beans, well shit when they figure it out it is going to own and be something pretty freaking cool.

              Hmm so the question is does it surprise you it is taking this long to figure out though?

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                August 16, 2013 10:28 AM

                I think Valve is still exploring HL3, but that they don't have a clear idea where to go right now. I feel that Gabe is in love with DOTA 2 and wants to see it stable before he moves to focusing on it.

                I think that their incentive program is a bad idea to keep them innovative in the purely game-mechanics/game-play sense, but is keeping them innovative in income generation and gamer-focused developments outside of actually making games.

                I'd like to see Gabe split off a team to focus purely on classic Valve-style game development and see if he can find where Valve should progress gaming next. They've already introduced: digital downloads, (truly) modular engine design, havock into the mainstream, digital marketplace, combined team OR server-based matchmaking [L4D], service-oriented development (instead of boxed goods development like EA), and copied the social features of the best social platform for gamers (Live). -- I want to see them go back to gaming and see their take on 2013 single-player games.

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                  August 16, 2013 1:12 PM

                  HL3 doesn't really make any sense at this point. The core mechanics seem too old and if they released it will seem like valve is not on top of their game. If they do update the game to feel more modern then it will upset the fans who liked the way FPS games were 10 years ago. So damned if they do damned if they don't.

                  Also valve's internal structure probably reduces the incentive to make it because it would be such a big, time consuming, and expensive project compared to something like l4d, dota, or portal, or a smaller game. If you as an employee get to choose what to work on do you choose making hats for DOTA2 where you can make a new one each week and release it and have it generate money immediately, or do you work on HL3 which is going to take 4-7 years and may fail before it even gets released, or be a spectactular failure upon release? Also valve employees are ranked by other employees and that determines their bonus for that year I believe. Imagine the DOTA2 people are getting pretty good bonuses but the guys on year 4 of HL3 dev are not getting as big of a bonus as they are not actually contributing as much to valve because they are just spending money instead of making it.

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          August 16, 2013 2:20 PM

          I'm going to partially disagree with you.
          now, granted, I've only worked in movies and commercials, so we've done some cheats and it's not interactive, but I can definitely mocap actions/movements whatever and then run it through dynamically created/adjusted environments in Houdini or Massive, create some simple goal/locators for them to focus on and given enough recorded mocap for them to blend together, it'll work just fine.

          This doesn't seem like that big of a hurdle to me, since I can create a model that will follow the camera in a couple hours of work in Houdini, and I'm no where near expert in that program or as smart as I bet a lot of their employees are.

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            August 16, 2013 2:34 PM

            Huh very interesting, thanks for the info man.

    • reply
      August 16, 2013 8:26 AM

      Why would this guy post that? Is he trying to kill his career?

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      August 16, 2013 8:28 AM

      how the hell would this guy have any idea what valve was or wasn't working on?

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        August 16, 2013 8:30 AM

        Duh, he's a voice actor. Obviously he would be intimately involved in every stage of planning and design that went into Half-Life 3.

        The game literally cannot exist without his aura.

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          August 16, 2013 10:22 AM

          It does sound like he called Valve looking for work, and they were all, "Uhhhh, we're having mo-cap problems, yeah....

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      August 16, 2013 8:40 AM

      Can they call up Naughty Dog? They seem to have that shit down

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        August 16, 2013 8:53 AM

        If they were going to reach out to anyone, I'd say it should be David Cage and the Quantic Dream team. The new mo-cap technology they use in Beyond: Two Souls is cutting edge and pretty amazing.

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        August 16, 2013 12:38 PM

        You guys just made my point, there are tons of studios who use mo-cap really well. So either valve is too proud to ask for advice or the voice actor doesn't know what he is talking about.

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      August 16, 2013 8:53 AM

      HL3 confirmed.

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        August 16, 2013 11:04 AM

        Pretty much this. Denying the existence makes me think it's getting close to a reveal.

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      August 16, 2013 9:06 AM

      What bugs me most is this: I DIDN'T CARE about how canned the animations in HL2 were, because the character's eye following and lip synch were so good, and the writing was good, and the scene design was good. Compare to Bioshock Infinite, which has FIXED eyes on all of the NPC models that aren't Elizabeth. They look like aliens! No amount of advanced mocap can hide that from me.

      Also, aren't we at a point where inverse kinematics could be tied to a model waypoint system in order to redice the need for a giant library of mocap sequences? Or how about having most of the character dialogue take place via radios that the resistance hacked together? Or... just let the gameplay do the talking!

      Somebody get me to a time machine set to 2010 Bellevue to stop this madness, as well as the craziness of the device boondoggle that resulted in the February 2013 layoffs!

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      August 16, 2013 10:13 AM

      [deleted]

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      August 16, 2013 12:05 PM

      I really wouldn't care about this wait had they NOT ENDED EPISODE 2 WITH SUCH A HUGE FUCKING CLIFFHANGER

      Come on!

      Seriously, their episodic stint didn't work out and we got screwed. Thanks Valve!

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      August 16, 2013 12:15 PM

      I'd be 100% ok with just episode 3. same engine, just finishing the story.

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        August 16, 2013 12:40 PM

        There is no gameplay, justt a cutscene of Gordan getting free and a message saying, just kidding everything is cool and the world is perfect.

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        August 16, 2013 3:04 PM

        Yeah, but it's too late for that now, though, and they know it. Maybe in 2009 that would have worked, but they goofed it up. Now they've taken so long that the expectations have changed.

        This really is becoming the second biggest case of video game vaporware ever behind Duke Nukem Forever (with number 3 probably being Beyond Good & Evil 2). They seem so scared of failure or disappointment that they've allowed one of the biggest disappointing failures of all, which is to take a beloved flagship franchise and bog it so far down in perpetual development limbo that it appears they can't find a way out.

        I'm sure the staff at Valve are wonderful, talented people and that they've been trying hard to make a great new Half-Life, but anyone who views this as an ideal state of affairs is kidding themselves. Leaving the Half-Life series in this unfinished state is just sad.

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      August 16, 2013 12:26 PM

      Its been so long that I've stopped caring, in fact I went back and tried playing HL2 again and, it was "ok". It just didnt have the same magic the first one did and the MP was late and unfun.

      There I said it.

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        August 16, 2013 12:27 PM

        well it's almost ten years old.

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          August 16, 2013 12:31 PM

          I heard it's awesome again if you play it with the mofo'in Oculus Rift.

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            August 16, 2013 12:41 PM

            Everything is awesome witht the Oculus Rift. Hell I bet I'd play CoD again if it has OcRt support

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            August 16, 2013 1:04 PM

            That would be pretty cool actually.

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            August 16, 2013 3:45 PM

            if you enjoy projectile vomiting

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        August 16, 2013 12:54 PM

        How brave of you. I hope a statue is erected in your remembrance on behalf of all of humanity.

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          August 16, 2013 1:05 PM

          There already is one...in your moms living room.

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        August 16, 2013 8:39 PM

        I dunno, I played it again last year and really loved it still.

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        August 16, 2013 8:57 PM

        You said it, congrats, and you're still wrong. The game is far better than "ok," even now. It remains superior to many currently made games in at least a few areas. This is, of course, totally my opinion.

    • reply
      August 16, 2013 12:29 PM

      Posted on December 23, 2011 by john

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      August 16, 2013 1:30 PM

      I haz a sad..

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      August 16, 2013 1:42 PM

      It wouldn't be very likely that Valve would have the voice actors in for sessions on HL3 until pretty late in the development process, like after they iron out all the nitty gritty details and such and build the story.

      There's a lot of work to do before you get the VA in the studio.

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      August 16, 2013 2:16 PM

      EVERYONE NEEDS HALF LIFE 3! :[ I've been waiting longer for it.

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        August 17, 2013 1:59 AM

        I gave up waiting tbh. But there is still hope.
        Maybe you should join us in our HL addict recovery group. I went through all the steps.
        You are still at step one "denial"

    • reply
      August 16, 2013 5:14 PM

      petition petition petition

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      August 16, 2013 5:19 PM

      All it could mean is that they're thinking of a solution which doesnt involve motion capture

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      August 16, 2013 5:27 PM

      [deleted]

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      August 16, 2013 5:40 PM

      Sounds legit. RIP Gordon, truly a Canadian icon.

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      August 16, 2013 6:43 PM

      Voice actors would know things like this- they're usually involved with the project for an extended period and have insight into the writing and design process*
      *note I've never heard anyone say that's true, always the opposite.

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      August 16, 2013 6:51 PM

      why are you guys so shocked about this?


      just give it up, the game is dead.

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      August 16, 2013 6:56 PM

      [deleted]

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      August 16, 2013 7:08 PM

      What he's saying makes sense. Character animations in Valve games are always in engine real time blends of hand made animations shown to the player as he's playing the game, the most they ever do is capture the player camera for a short time - Valve games don't have cutscenes in other words, so their various storytelling sequences have to work from all angles AND while the player is playing the game.

      A good example of this is Black Mesa East in HL2 where you can talk to Eli, play with the gadgets, horse around with the physics objects and jump all over the place while Mossman and Alyx are having an argument in front of you.

      So what he's saying is Valve want to be able to do that but instead of hand animation they want the quality of facial expression and natural body language you only get from capturing performances from actors at the same time. Which sounds tricky, not easy and simple.

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      August 16, 2013 8:30 PM

      yeah if there's anything stalling HL3 it's going to be mocap issues.

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      August 16, 2013 9:38 PM

      I've heard this from another source I know IN REAL LIFE. Supposedly they're not working on it, or if they are, it is CRAZY secret. So secret that a lot of people at Valve don't even know about it.

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        August 19, 2013 3:10 AM

        YEAH! That's why your source knows about it, because nobody else does!

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      August 17, 2013 12:46 PM

      HALF LIFE 3 CONFIRMED

Hello, Meet Lola