Marc Laidlaw has been working as a writer at Valve since 1997. Despite many previous sci-fi works, he is perhaps best known for being the literary muscle behind Valve’s most famous and perpetually delayed Half-Life series. Laidlaw had previously written all plot details in Half-Life 1 and 2, as well as being Lead Writer on Episodes 1 and 2.
Responding to an e-mail from a fan, the author explained that he had left for personal reasons and not due to any kind of bad blood between him and other Valve staff:
“I am no longer a full or part time Valve employee, no longer involved in day-to-day decisions or operations, no longer a spokesperson for the company, no longer privy to most types of confidential information, no longer working on Valve games in any capacity,”
That seems pretty conclusive, but what hasn’t been concluded is the Half-Life series. Now that the lead writer has departed the company, that leaves the project’s future even more tenuous, as it is uncertain whether or not the game will ever be released.
Laidlaw stated that his ambitions were to return to writing in works outside of video games, but he may yet return to the gaming industry:
“It feels like the time is right to return to my roots and see where that takes me. It might well take me back into games by other routes, but certainly that’s not part of the plan.”
Fans have been waiting for a staggering 7 years for the fabled and often mocked Half-Life 2: Episode 3, a game which has achieved Duke Nukem Forever status as a running joke in many gaming circles. Marc Laidlaw had written the game’s story for Half-Life 1, 2 and was lead writer on Episode 1 and 2. Since 2007, Valve have made absolutely no comments on the status of Half-Life 2: Episode 3 ( or Half-Life 3 as some fans have speculated it has become) apart from “It’s being worked on.”
One caveat: There’s been no official word from Valve yet, and the only apparent source is a Redditor’s email, so take this news with a slight pinch of salt for now.