Poll Question 162 – Would you like to see some underwater action in EP3?

5th March 2010

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

This week’s poll question is from Jasper who wonders about some sort of submarine vehicle or adventure in Episode 3.

Perhaps the best way to infiltrate the Combine base around the Borealis would be underwater? Of course, that depends on how much is left by the time Gordon gets there.

What do you think about the idea of having some underwater action in Episode 3 and the general concept and implementation of submarine vehicles and action?

I remember in Chaser some sort of submarine area and I pretty much hated it, it almost made me feel sick. of course, I am sure the way Valve would do it would be much better, but I still wonder if it’s ever been done really well.

The Poll


  1. Yes, please! But you knew that already.
    The Combine have airborne weaponry In the form of Helicopters and Gunships; land based troops and weaponry but nothing sea based.

    No Navy! That cannot be right.
    The most devastating way to bring this planet to it’s knees, in short order, is to destroy all Merchant Marine, undersea communications lines and seabed energy supply pipelines including electricity. Planet wide meltdown would ensue.

    There are some very powerful Fighting Navies on this planet and Combine airborne weaponry would barely leave a scratch.

    For the Combine: Biomechanical/Cyborg Hunter Seeker Submarines equipped, say, with a modified energy blaster for undersea firing like the Striders and Gunships use.
    A possible scenario.
    First area of deployment. North Sea (to keep things in Europe).
    Combine Base; Stavanger Fjord, Norway (to restrict the area).
    Combine submarines have just been launched.
    3 Submarines for the North Sea and 3 for the North Atlantic, awaiting launch.
    Primary Mission: Destroy all marine communications and energy pipelines.
    Secondary: Destroy Fighting and Merchant Marine as and when encountered.

    Now we have a reason for a new vehicle!

    A 2 man super mini-submarine equipped with nuclear tipped torpedoes (the environment will have to wait, there’s a war on).
    Manned by Gordon and Alyx of course.
    The script for Alyx could be great: “Up bubble’, ‘down bubble’, ‘dive dive dive” (swearing not required).
    ‘just one ping, one ping only please” (I’m a fan of ‘red October’).
    She gets to fire the torpedoes too.
    1. Destroy the 3 Combine subs ready to head off to the North Sea.
    2. Dock the Sub and destroy the Combine Base.
    3. Destroy the 3 Combine subs on their slipways – but wait! One’s got away!
    Dear me, GF and A will have to hunt it down!! (mild searing permitted).

    If the Borealis appears in EP3/HL3 and in the Arctic then GF will be in the right place. Just needs to battle his way along the snowy mountainous spine of Norway to the northern tip which is within the Arctic circle.
    Snowmobile from the New Vehicles Poll required, great.

    Or, use the sub to get to the Arctic via the Shetlands, Faroes and Iceland. Then Greenland. Dock the sub and then Snowmobile to the Borealis.
    Taking out Combine Outposts and battling Ice Zombies and Headcrabs on the way.

    If no one comes up with a better idea, I’m turning traitor and showing this to a Combine Advisor.

    1. The Dias

      Well, there was the fact that the combine were draining the oceans and such. A navy wouldn’t be of any use without water.

  2. I’d love to see it, but the practical side of me is pointing out that even the Orange Box Source Engine does not have the capabilities needed to make something like that look good.

    Also, the concept art already has the borealis embedded in the side of a glacier, so even given what limited info we have right now, it seems safe to say that a sub would only get you so far in the race for the borealis.

  3. Ricardo's

    It would be bugged sa hell.

  4. No thank you. Swimming is not really cool.

  5. I think Source could handle it, but not my current computer (I’ll have to upgrade for Ep3 anyway). 🙂

    Maybe for a small portion it would be okay, but I think I’d rather have most of my combat on land.

    We haven’t seen everything the Combine has available–they could very well have aquatic-based combat units… And don’t forget about the leeches. If we’re in a sub, they probably wouldn’t affect us, but it would have to have really cool armor not to get holed (and get us eaten by leeches).

  6. MikeS

    I can’t think of a single game where I have enjoyed underwater excursions. They always tend to be dark, slow and unresponsive compared to land-based action. Tomb Raider is a good example of this.

  7. Trooper

    Leave sea bottom to Bioshock. Combines have no navy because there is no need in boats – they control cityes, peoples and most of the surface with gunships and/or dropships witch can be used to destroy poor rusty rebel boats, if rebels will try to use it.
    P.S. sorry about my poor English.

  8. Soylent Bacon

    I hate vehicles. On top of that, to quote Francis: “I hate the water.”

    No, thank you.

  9. this is kind of amusing. Looking at the people posting it looks like a general consensus to avoid water like the plague but by actual votes, water is apparently eagerly anticipated.

    1. Interesting eh ? 😉

  10. Anon_218591

    Let me just say that in terms of the plot, the Combine have no need for a Navy. Here’s 3 simple reasons:
    1. Combine has air dominance. Anything that is not connected to land can therefore be reached via air, unless it’s underwater.
    2. Combine controls most cities. We can assume most piers and hangars are therefore Combine-controlled. This means any remaining Rebel Sea Vessel cannot be repaired and will eventually rust away.
    3. The Combine are draining the Earth’s Ocean. Therefore it would be counter-intuitive to build a Navy. In addition, the drop in the water level has made most Docks inaccessible.

    1. I was just about to mention point 3 myself, no point in putting military into a resource that is being removed.

      Though it is possible that the rebels have managed to build an underwater base that only subs can access and can be used to repair those same subs. While most of the current ports would be inaccessible, I’m sure new ones could eventually be found and used.

  11. BluncheonMeat

    I would like to see underwater gameplay only if it’s done right. Considering valve though, if it’s done, it’s probably done right too.

  12. wayfare

    I voted maybe, but I’m leaning more towards no. I cannot remember any game that I have played extensively underwater and thought it was even alright.. I think that I have suppressed most of those memories even because of how poorly done they were. The only reasoning behind my maybe vote is for the same reason as BluncheonMeats: Because it’s Valve!

  13. I’m all for the a watery grave. It’s as good as any other.

    Personally, I’ve always enjoyed the underwater game-play as long as there’s a clear purpose to being there ( puzzle, submerged route, shortcut ). I honestly don’t really feel the need for a new vehicle, but I’m not apposed to one.

    There’s a certain element of elevated anxiety at knowing you have to move and move fast or your dead in 20 seconds. Once that gulping sound starts you tense up and start squeezing that mouse harder and you hardly notice how much fun your really having.

  14. Hemuuuli

    Underwater section would be fun. In HL underwater sections were good and they are very underrated in my book. Pacing was top-notch. I think that sections with water would be great if they don’t rely too much in combat. Underwater combat would need faster movement underwater and contorls that are made for it – and I think Valve aren’t going to change controls.

    I really haven’t played many good titles with underwater combat. In FarCry it was fachinating stealth element, in MGS2 part with Emma was very claustrophobic and in Sonic water slowed down the fast gameplay and gave more time to react.

  15. The Dias

    Playing Bioshock 2 lately has made me crave some good underwater combat. Swimming or otherwise. It would also be a good excuse to bring back the ichthyosaur.

  16. Planetary

    Well the only weapons to work underwater are the crowbar, pistol, and crossbow; so Valve would have to design some new weapons for sure if there’s to be underwater combat. For all we know that’s what they’re planning, but we can only speculate.

  17. I could see Freeman piloting a single-man tow-behind scuba type vehicle for transversing long pipelines, infiltrating a Combine base on a converted offshore oil rig (mod idea alert), etc. This almost seems Source engine feasible. Of course you would have to be given a longer (or endless) air supply while your attached to the vehicle.

  18. Ctoagu

    I’m leaning towards maybe as well. It depends on how Valve would execute such an idea in a game. I remember a few games where it was just plain terrible, but I ralso recall games where they pulled it off really well.

    If they’re going to do such a thing though, it would be a bad idea to make the submarine a sluggish old thing. I mean, that kind of gameplay would get boring fast, plus there’s no reason to make it all high-tech and such; after all, if the Combine can take over the world in seven hours, they can build a mini-submarine that could end up airborne for a few moments if you surface at full speed. (Imagine Alyx’s reaction to Gordon pulling that kind of a stunt.)

    As for the fact that the Borealis is icelocked at the time; well, it wouldn’t hurt to throw in the sub as a way to cross a large span of water that’s overwise blocking the way to the final destination, would it?

    Oh yeah, and the fact that vehicles are normally indestructable, and Gordon simply falls through them if he dies. It would be less immersion-shattering to give the submarine its own health bar(with a slow auto-healing ability added in to keep gameplay from getting impossible), and possibly exploding when “killed’, instantly killing both Alyx and Gordon(The player’s’s vision abrutply whites out, similar to in the damaged Citadel, if debris hits the elevator and both he and Alyx plummet to their deaths) or simply falling apart or flooding, exposing both of them to the ice-cold water,(vision blacks out, ‘subject: Terminated” message appears, some extra animations for Alyx so she isn’t just standing underwater if the player looks her way before blacking out.)

    Of course, underwater combat isn’t combat if you’re unable to fire back at the enemy, or if there isn’t even an enemy to fight back against. The ideal arsenal would probably be laser-guided/heat-seeking (preferably laser-guided) torpedoes, possibly a weapon similar to the Strider’s more common attack(This is a Combine submarine we are talking about, or at least one the rebels pieced together with Combine tech). The enemies would probably be likened to other submarines, turret emplacements, and maybe the occasional curious Ichthyosaur(although the water’s likely too freezing cold for leeches to survive, let alone the player.), and that’s without the possibility of above-ground enemies, like a Hunter Chopper overhead dropping specialized depth charges into the water above you. Maybe even natural hazards like ice breaking off into the water, for it would be a good moment of tension as you try to get out of the way of a huge chunk of ice that broke off an ice wall due to a missile hitting it(scripted sequences, I guess.)

  19. sygnus21

    I’d like to see the game released!

  20. Master74

    A somebody already said, a small portion of underwater action would be nice… But only a very small portion.
    Mhhh, now that I think about it, underwater “action” tends to be way too slow and gets really boring after a while.

    Thanks but no underwater action for me.

  21. feckineejit

    No underwater stuff please or else my laptop will get vomited on. I get motion sickness so bad, especially in deep water action.

    Who’s to say that aliens need water based travel anyway? They brought an entire world to it’s knees in 7 hours using land and air based vehicles, improve on the existing vehicles (and let US ride around in them).

  22. Pingback: Episode #74 » Podcast17

  23. Nrmartins

    I don’t even think there will be EP3.. But if it does come, please put underwater action with visual to under the see … Or what you come up with.

  24. YES PLEASE and a submarine or scuba equipment..spear gun…could reskin the crossbow..

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