Valve is Considering Making a Half-Life Movie on Their Own?

August 26, 2010
Source: PC Gamer

Half-Life - Gordon Freeman

Remarkably, in the four years I've been running this blog we've never once talked about a Half-Life movie, despite the game being one of my all-time favorites and one that I know many people hope to see made into a movie. In a recent interview at PC Gamer (via IGN) with Valve's CEO and co-founder, Gabe Newell, he opened up a bit about their dismal history with Hollywood and even hinted that they might be considering making a movie based on Half-Life on their own. At this point we've seen the Half-Life franchise go through so much, including a fantastic sequel, that I don't know if what he's talking about is still in the works or not.

Newell starts out saying he wants to see game makers doing their own movies, complaining that "we're kind of sick and tired of the way you guys are slicing and dicing the experience of being a fan of Harry Potter, or Half-Life." Then he gets into their experiences with Half-Life and it gets pretty depressing. Newell explains:

"Where we got into this direction was after Half-Life 1 had shipped. There was a whole bunch of meetings with people from Hollywood. Directors down there wanted to make a Half-Life movie and stuff, so they'd bring in a writer or some talent agency would bring in writers, and they would pitch us on their story. And their stories were just so bad. I mean, brutally, the worst. Not understanding what made the game a good game, or what made the property an interesting thing for people to be a fan of.

"That's when we started saying 'Wow, the best thing we could ever do is to just not do this as a movie, or we'd have to make it ourselves.' And I was like, 'Make it ourselves? Well that's impossible.' But the Team Fortress 2 thing, the Meet The Team shorts, is us trying to explore that."

That's sad to hear they got so many crappy pitches early in the day, but if he's talking about when Half-Life 1 came out, that was back in 1998. Maybe they should actually hear some pitches from screenwriter nowadays who are passionate about the game and could adapt the full sci-fi story exactly like they want. I bet there's a few out there who could write an incredible Half-Life script (I know a few myself). My other concern is that those Meet The Team shorts are animated, so are they considering a full-length animated Half-Life movie? If so, I'm worried that would turn out like Ultramarines. I don't know about you guys, but I hope to one day see a kick ass, live-action epic adaptation of Half-Life, not something quick and forgettable like that movie.

I know video game movies still get a bad rap (and deserve it because most are bad), but it's potentially great adaptations like this that I think could help turn things around. They just need a writer who knows the game inside-out to adapt it, give it the big budget that it needs, and find a director (maybe Marc Forster?) who can do a great job bringing it all to life. It's possible that it could work out and turn out as awesome as the game itself, but of course there are a lot of factors to that and it seems like Valve just doesn't like dealing with all that. Only time will tell what happens, but it doesn't sound like Valve is interested in much at the moment.

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That'd be crazy if Neill Blomkamp ended up with the gig.

MonsterKilledThePilot on Aug 26, 2010


Alex have you seen Ultramarines yet to make that decision? i'm not raggin on ya,just curious if you did.

Rafael on Aug 26, 2010


I'm all for a Half-Life movie, But it might be difficult to adapt, Because the main character never speaks in the game, the game is from that character's point of view, You see what the character sees. Maybe they can do it Cloverfield style or something.

TigerClaw on Aug 26, 2010


^ Nah, not yet, was just saying that based on all the negativity from that trailer.

Alex Billington on Aug 26, 2010


Well the leading role would be easy... Gordon Freeman never speaks.

Head Crab on Aug 26, 2010


Gabe needs to stop talking about movies and get to HL2.Ep3 already.

Mark on Aug 26, 2010


Tigerclaw that's why they should go with a film based in the story of Half-Life and not one follwing Freeman, maybe one following Alyx or someone created soley for the film. I've said the same thing for Bioshock and Halo, create a character for the film not use character who is already in the game.

Xerxex on Aug 26, 2010


Psst better not have a movie before Episode 3, or else Valve will stay loosing. Priorities people!

Nav on Aug 26, 2010


Opps, I ment losing and yes Mark that's the truth!

Nav on Aug 26, 2010


That's so wild, while I was driving today I was thinking of how you could execute the plot for a videogame movie like HL or even Halo(both similar in the case that the character says very little - or nothing at all). One alternative to following a character that really has no deep characteristics other than combat would have to be witnessed by other characters seeing their valor and effect on the plotline. So as for HL, maybe its a string of characters that.. well... put their part in during the story alongside Freeman as he does his shtick, and unfortunately/maybe die* - Going from a scientist witnessing the initial breakout - to a soldier called in to suppress the unknown forces. Having A-list actors could very well carry that kind of film. That formula may work better towards a Halo movie, since we never really see the Master Chiefs face, that would be hard for the audience to connect to. My thoughts on this angle is based solely on the fact that however the movie will portray him - will define him for the first time. Is Morgan Freeman similar to a Harrison Ford character, or more like Nicholas Cage. To really 'bottle' the character up is going to take some great casting, as well as Valve's ability to defend the character. When we're done watching that movie, who is Morgan Freeman going to be for us? He'll be badass, that's for sure, but will he be only as deep as we saw Adrien Brody's character in Predators - No real backstory but just a man who knows how to handle situations. I feel the ambiguity on the main character might be the way to go. *Look at the fan-made film Escape from City 17( They did a great job without ever having to show or mention the main character. They certainly could drive it to have Freeman be this beacon of hope and could very well appear at some point, but you have to admit once you start seeing it, YOU WANT TO WATCH THE REST.

Nick Sears on Aug 26, 2010


And NO Animated Film!

Nick Sears on Aug 26, 2010


@Nick Sears I'd rather see a new character take the helm in a film, there are limitless possibilities for Valve to introduce another person who is connected to The Half-Life universe. This new character could meet up with Gordon, Alyx and Dr. Vance much later in the stroy.

Xerxex on Aug 26, 2010


Jake Gyllenhaal as Dr. Freeman, William Dafoe as the G-Man and Neill Blomkamp directing. I'm still sceptical about a Half-Life movie due to the lack of emotional elements in the story but if it were told from another one's perspective than Freeman's, as some of you pointed out, it might work - given a top-notch screenwriter.

c-r-u-x on Aug 26, 2010


All I can say is final fantasy spirits within.....

Movieguy on Aug 26, 2010


not nitpicking Nick but you i think you mean Gordon Freeman...not Morgan,lol.

Rafael on Aug 26, 2010


right now i'm more interested in half life 3 than a movie....

HellBoy on Aug 26, 2010


Half-Life 2 is probably my favorite video game but that's in spite of the story that is a little on the lean side. The environment and the physics of the game are fantastic, and I enjoy any visit from the G-Man, but there's not a lot of great drama otherwise. Just played Bioshock to completion for the first time, and you could definitely make a fantastic movie out of the story elements of that game (and its sequel). With Half Life, there's a definite need (and plenty of room) to find a compelling narrative.

dinobass on Aug 27, 2010



Cody w on Aug 27, 2010


where is episode 3?????????????????????????????????

splinter on Aug 27, 2010


HL2 is the best game ever made.

Ambient on Aug 27, 2010


Half-Life rocks and it deserves a live-action movie!

Robbie on Aug 27, 2010


Ha, a little tired, but yes, GORDON Freeman. I was watching Morgan Freeman the other night on discovery haha

Nick Sears on Aug 27, 2010


Shooting it REC/Cloverfield style would be cool.

ryderup on Aug 27, 2010


I read somewhere that Quentin Tarantino liked the game and wouldn't mind directing it (I am sure I read that or something along those lines a few years ago).

DiR3cT on Aug 27, 2010


Great game ,I say Ed Norton as Gordon.

tir na nog on Aug 27, 2010


The film should follow a group of resistance fighters around. Make it like Saving Private Ryan meets District 9 with headcrabs, and whenever the group meets up with Freeman it should be a really special moment. They could even see him off in the distance being a total badass and that inspires them or something.

DudeGuy on Aug 27, 2010


First of all they need to have freeman speaking in the film, otherwise its gonna turn out as stupid as those scenes from doom. I think the film would be great if they had enough $$$$$$$$$$. Maybe start the film out with almost a bio on all the people staring in it. you know show like what a normal couple of days would be like for freeman. working in a lab, conversing with the other scientists. getting ready for the big test. 🙂 then maybe show one of the security gaurds doing the same along with a group of the soldiers who are later sent in to clean the mess up. then have everything unfold. show a little bit from each set of characters at a time and use it to build the suspense and fear. maybe have each of them meet at certain points in the film. but the most important thing to adapt is the environment that valve created. it was awesome and the monsters would be epic if they really did each one right. can you imagine a live action fight scene with one of halflife's bosses. i would pay to see it twice.

Coolj on Aug 27, 2010


Forget the movie, just give me episode 3.

Matt on Aug 27, 2010


I thought they already made this? Wasn't it called Children of Men?

Kalt on Aug 27, 2010


Stephen King's The Mist is probably the closest thing we'll get to a Half-Life movie however, Hugh Laurie as Gordon Freeman is the best casting choice ever

Robert on Oct 1, 2010


Halflife is an epic game and I would love to see it as a film. As long as they do a better job than was done with Doom.

Devil2575 on Dec 2, 2010


i have a great idea to make it into a trilogy...but im tryna get the money. its a dream of mine lol

Yateend on Mar 6, 2011

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