Poll Question 291 – Do you like the idea of a Half-Life movie?

7th February 2013

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

Well, it’s been discussed many times before but it finally looks to be happening on a professional scale: A Half-Life (or portal) movie!

I’ll probably be the one Half-Life fan to say that I think it’s a bad idea and here’s why…

You know how a movie is never as good as a book (well almost always never)? I think the same will happen here. Yes, the movie will be fantastic but not if you played Half-Life near when it first came out.

Nothing they could do would recapture that initial tram ride feeling and the sense of wonder.

I’m not against the idea of a movie and I am sure that if Valve support it then it WILL be amazing, but I just feel that I don’t want to step over into a new media.

Half-Life for me is about that interactive experience, not just the look and what happens. I have a feeling that if you asked me the same question 5 years ago I would have LOVED the idea, but perhaps I have become more guarded now.

Not everything should be converted to new formats or media. A “7 Hour War” movie sounds much more interesting to me.

What are your thoughts?

Time to vote


  1. Wesp5

    I agree with you that it would probably be a disappointment. Anyone remember the Doom movie or others based on Shooters? They can’t really catch the feeling! Also, in my humble opinion Valve should see that they get HL:EP3 released, instead of dreaming of larger projects like the Steam box, virtual reality or movies. I think Valve right now is a company that only does games on the side and once one of the bigger things fails, we’ll never get HL:EP3!

    1. Seconded. Come on, Valve, stop messing around. Finish the damned job!

  2. AI

    I voted “maybe” we will have to wait and see what they (Valve) come up with! I do remember the movie “Doom”, went to go see it when it came out, nice action, but not too impressed! I have all the “Doom” collection and feel it to be far superior to the movie. On the other hand, years ago, Stephen King had a book called “Christine” about a evil car, I read the book, then the movie came out, now that was good!! Very well done! Much better than the book! So if “Valve” come thru on this “Good” if not, it will join the anals of “Doom” and some others! Just my old man thoughts(hehe). πŸ˜‰

  3. WHen you play the game, you get to know all the characters, Gordon, Alyx, Kleiner and we, the players are the ones who knows them the best.

    I have seen some very impressive videos on YouTube where Gordon says one or two words but they are so small that you don’t quite hear how he sounds like. In a movie, the speech is a big part and if you give Gordon a voice, it would just seem wrong. He is mystical, no one knows where he came from or what he is like, so the producers would have to guess.

    My answer is, if there were to be a Half Life movie, it must be set in the half life universe but not about Gordon Freeman or any other character from the game.

  4. William

    I voted no only because of the current circumstances of the DICE keynote… I’ll just copy and paste my comment from LG here as it applies in the same context:

    Hate to be the negative, but is this really a good use of JJ Abrams valuable time? Surely, Star Trek and now Star Wars are much more profitable ventures, don’t you think he’s biting off way more than he can chew? Two of the greatest film legacies + the greatest video game legacy? I know he has a team of people behind him, but it still seems way too much. Personally I’d rather he focus all his efforts and talent towards Star Wars, he has a chance to make real history. In the grand scheme of things Half-Life and Portal are just small blips on the pop culture radar. Further, if all his great talent is focused on Star Wars then it would stand to argue that Half-Life and Portal will become a secondary venture. I dunno if this is the right time for either companies.

    It was a really interesting talk though, they really drove home the point that film and video games are two very different mediums with very distinct qualities. If anything good should come of this is perhaps Abrams can be some sort of outside contractor on the next set of Video Games and perhaps bridge that gap, combining the greatness of two mediums. But a movie? As a community so involved in the interactivity of the art form why are we even interested in seeing Half-Life on the silver screen?

  5. I have two words – “Judge Dredd”. If you were a fan of the original 1970/80s character & storyline (& even remember the Daily Star newspaper strips!) then you only need to see the shocking 1995 movie of the same name, to know what a terrible, awful, appalling travesty can be perpetrated by ignorant, greed-driven Hollywood types. This must not be allowed to happen again! Especially not to Gordon Freeman et al.

    “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it…”

    Let’s face it, the Half Life universe, like Dredd, has a strong appeal to a relatively small section of society. For us, it’s a big thing, but if you were to do a supermarket poll, how many people are going to know who Gordon Freeman is? So, with dollar-signs in their eyes, do you think Hollywood film makers are going to stay true to the fundamentals? At all? Even slightly? Or are they going to completely miss the point, make up a load of nonsensical guff & generally pervert the whole concept, in a misguided attempt to “appeal to a wider audience’? i.e. p*ss off everyone, and please no-one, just like the 1995 Judge Dredd abortion.
    Come on, you know there will be bimbos in HEV bikinis, cigar-chomping Gordon will have a diagonal scar across one eye & be riding a huge chopper, God only knows what they’ll do to the Combine, they’ll end up like some futuristic version of the cop in the Village People song – it really doesn’t bear thinking about! Headcrabbed zombies will be farcical, all of Alyxs” clothes will keep falling off, and Dr. kliener will be the techno-nonsense spouting “crazy scientist’, Doc. Emmett Brown style! I bet we could run a poll here for ‘most inappropriately cast HL characters” and we still wouldn’t be even close to the nonsense they’d finally concoct.
    A terrible movie will just alienate everyone, and will seriously damage the viability of the franchise. What do you think that will do to whatever remains of HL3/EP3?
    So, HL the movie? Kids, “JUST SAY NO”.

    1. Well said!
      Fan of Joe’s since issue two!
      In 200AD they ran a poll to see which, then film actor could play which role, like Clint Eastwood as Judge Dredd and Lee Marvin as Claw Carver; so maybe Phillip could run a poll for the worst actors to play the Half Life characters and then give a prize to the first to get one right! Or should that be wrong!

      That film gave us judicial codpieces and the double-whammy! May they rot on Titan for the next twenty years!

      1. Absolutely! I was thinking exile to the Cursed Earth, but Titan is much better. Aaargh, mercifully I had forgotten about those two ‘little gems” and, finally – after all the deliberations, Sylvester Stallone!! Every 2 mins “Iy-yam the LEUURRRRRRR…!” Oh God, just awful. I remember the acute embarrassment watching it. Plus, how about the random inclusion of a latter-day Hamerstein, from a totally different, unrelated story & timeline? Just happened to be a character in the same publication, and some pin-head flicking through a latter-day prog said “Hey, he looks cool, let’s put him in.. yeah, baby, high 5!” – it’s like sticking Sonic or SuperMario in the HL movie, because “Hey, they were cool gaming guys, it’s all the same bro, the kids will love it!”. Point being, nothing is off-limits to these ****holes. Keep them well away from HL! *shudders*

        1. Careful, you may be giving “them” ideas!

  6. Stanley Dunigan

    I don’t really understand why so many people have such problems with the idea of movies being based on videogames, as if that compromises the integrity of the games, or something. Those two forms of entertainment are completely and fundamentally different. Whenever a movie is made “based on” a videogame, all that means is the basic story idea used in the videogame is now going to be used in a completely different way — a movie. It’s kind of like two different authors having the same general “seed” idea, and writing completely independently of each other. They’re bound to come up with two very different stories, both of which could be very good and entertaining in their own way.

    I for one liked the DOOM movie a lot, even though it significantly diverged from the DOOM games” storyline of demons teleporting in from some hellish dimension due to a human teleportation experiment (much like in Half-Life). If I had been thinking “this movie had *better* be just like the games” when I watched it, I would’ve inevitably been disappointed. However, I was able to enjoy the movie for what it was. How many of you would have, if it had simply not used the name DOOM and some of DOOM 3’s signature creatures? I feel the same way about the Wing Commander movie, and a few others that apparently weren’t “critical successes,” or whatever.

    Movies that are based on videogames need to be made with the idea that they’re telling a completely different story in a completely different way, just with some few common elements (such as names, locations, what goes wrong in general, etc.). They don’t even necessarily have to have the same characters, and they certainly don’t have to have the same ending. In fact, the worst thing that such movies can do is try too hard to be like the videogame. If they’d just do something different with the same basic story, and make sure everything is well-scripted and so forth, they’d probably end up with a good-to-great movie. (I’d like it, anyway.)

    So yeah, I’m in favor of a Half-Life movie. I don’t have any particular opinions or preferences on what should be in the movie, or anything like that. It could happen anywhere in Black Mesa during the time of the resonance cascade thing, have weird-looking CGI aliens teleporting in all over the place … whatever. I’ll buy it when it comes out on DVD in any case! And if I end up not liking it for some reason, I’ll take comfort in the fact that it doesn’t replace or change the Half-Life games in any way, and I can always enjoy playing through them again.

    1. Wesp5

      You yourself explained that the Doom movie diverted from the game story of having demons from hell invade Mars. Well, for me that was all that Doom actually was about and changing that just left a generic action movie! Now one could guess what would happen to the HL story of aliens invading a scientific base researching teleporters? Especially with zombies as one form of enemy, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if that would end up as the main story and we would end up with another generic zombie movie…

      1. Stanley Dunigan

        I used the DOOM movie as my main example for the very reason that it diverged so much from the DOOM games” storyline. That makes it pretty much the ultimate example of a movie “based on” a game that takes the basic, general idea (demonic creatures on a Mars research base) and does something completely different with it than the game did. Apparently, a lot of people don’t like that sort of thing, but I really do. After all, I’ve already experienced the game’s storyline, and I don’t want the movie’s to just be a predictable rehash of it.

        Also, remember that movies are generally going to be 90 to 110 minutes long, with no guarantee whatsoever of a sequel. Many things have to be changed just to make a complete movie that fits within that timeframe. That’s been a big problem with many movies that were based on novels, too (something I tend to be a lot more picky about, since I expect the movie’s plotline to be about the same as the novel’s).

  7. MisterAddy

    I can see the potential appeal of a Half-Life movie in Valve’s hands, but I’m not sure JJ Abrams would be the right person for the job. I like some of the things he’s worked on, but you just have to look to the latest Star Trek film (2009), which has become an extremely “mainstream” and shallow action-adventure film, not really what the franchise was known for. I don’t see how any Valve film could maintain enough of the original elements whilst still being economically viable. And as William said, isn’t he a little busy at the moment? I’m more worried that he doesn’t mess up Star Wars…

  8. The_Blazer

    I voted yes, but only at one condition: the main character must **not** be Gordon Freeman. I’d like to see a Half-Life movie about Black Mesa before the accident and the events that led to it, or about the life of citizens in City 17 before the uprising (it would make an awesome dramatic movie if done properly).

    I think that with a good director and, most importantly, a good storyline, an HL2 movie could be great. However, movies based on videogames and vice versa must be handled very carefully and very wisely, in order to avoid ending up with and abortion like House of the Dead.

  9. I feel like Half-Life is something that works best in the format of a video game, but I voted “maybe” because a well-done Half-Life movie would still be interesting. I have enough faith in Valve to believe that they won’t completely mess it up.

    1. Hec

      Migga as you are a moder, I just think if you do some work related to the 7hr war would be great!!

      1. Ade

        indeedy πŸ˜€ u do great fights except you’d need to work a lot with the rebel ai

  10. The potential for a standard movie-game disapointment is very high, but its surely worth the risk. A tv series like Battlestar Galactica could prove amazing – it would also allow spin offs like portal and half-life 2 if the first proved successful. It would give the time for character development and would fit better with the style of the half-life series.

    I wouldn’t have a problem with Gordon being voiced – when playing the game, I feel like I am playing him not myself, so it would not be a problem hearing his voice on screen (although in the game not having him speak works brilliantly).

  11. Hec

    I totally agree with Phillip on this :

    A “7 Hour War” movie sounds much more interesting to me.

    That is actually a good theme for a movie if you think, and indeed we have NOTHING in modding production terms related to the 7hr war!!. that’s unbelievable!!! I guess 1187 mod is close to the 7hr war topic, but indeed is kind of away from it in an strict way…, so a movie n about the 7h, would be cool because yo can create new characters, and well that way Gordon Freeman WOULDNT HAVE TO TALK!!

    Now I imagine a HL Movie… who actor would perform Gordon??, Huge Laurie?? yep i’d vote for him but I guess he would charge big for a fiction movie like that……

    And overall is this feeling that allways kind of piss me off as a big fan of HL universe: Valve always rambling about stupid ideas on Gabe’s head!!!!!!!!!! I dont intend to offend Gabe at all but allways he talks about HL evade to give a bit of info about it.

    So I stick to my mind: Please valve guys, keep working on HL3 and shut your big boss mouth!!! stop rambling untill you give some concrete data about the destiny of the hl3 GAME!!!

    1. Sorry Hec, but Hugh Laurie is always going to be Bertie Wooster, The Prince Regent or Lt. George! (House doesn’t count – daft “accent’) Just couldn’t take him seriously as graduate Scientist/action hero. Same deal with Tony Robinson; he can dig up exactly as much pottery as he likes, he’s always going to be Baldrick!

  12. I voted yes for a film, but I really hope it won’t be an American film! Do we really want to see a blue Mesa, (the present colour of nearly all US sci-fi), with over-bright lens flare in our faces for the whole film! And what about it’s horror content; will they give it a high enough certificate for a brain and gore-stained crowbar?
    Although a foreign director can give the grittiness needed, Paul Verhoeven for example directing Starship Troopers.
    As Phillip has said, the Seven-Day-War would be a terrific start to a Half Life series. With its wider appeal it could be a great film or even a very good drama series about survival under an oppressive alien-lead regime. Not new I know. Just keep it about small resistance groups fighting the combine, introduce the odd effects shots for background and the occasional tech and you have a low budget! Especially if the guy whose loves colour grading is looked in a cold dark dungeon!
    And it can have zombies and zombines, very now!

    I hope its made while there are one or two people around who know what the Half-Life universe is and that they let James Horner give it an brilliant soundtrack.

    Now lets vote for our actors! πŸ™‚

  13. Zuul

    Will it be made with source filmmaker? BTW it’s difficult to choose an actor for Gordon since he doesn’t speak.

    1. I think you’ll find him speaking in a film, unless Mel Brooks does it as another silent movie!

  14. After playing a video game, I feel that it is a backward step to produce a movie of the same content. The most memorable moments I’ve had in video games are due to the interactive nature. Being immersed as a participant in the world and feeling like you have an influence on events is one of the major appeals to me as a gamer. To go from participant to audience feels somewhat degrading.

    The only proviso to this for a Half-life movie would be that the movie be produce within canon and provides a new insight into the half-life universe that we may not be privy to acting as Gordon Freeman. This could be akin to the Opposing Force and Blue Shift expansions but in a movie format. There is enough room within the Half-life universe to create unique stories that add to the fiction.

    I will feel sorely disappointed if the movie is produced and it is just a rehash of the great games that we enjoy adapted for a different medium.

  15. RossBondReturns

    I voted yes.

    As a screenwriter I’ve worked on and off over the past 2 odd years now on a Half-Life script…and it’s shaping up really nicely.

    And if I can do it you bet your bottom dollar that Valve…and J.J. as a Director/most likely producer could do it a million times better.

  16. Absolutely No. But if it happens, it should be in 3D, Real-3D. Wonder who’ll play G-man, hmmm?

    1. .. it should be in 3D, Real-3D..

      What – do you mean as a stage play? “Half-life: the Musical” Hmm, interesting – may have limited appeal..

      1. I mean real-3D alÑ Avatar, with real-3D glasses…It’s afterall about a “Half-Life movie”

  17. Is it even possible? Have a look at this (admittedly arbitrary) list of gaming crossovers on IMDB http://www.imdb.com/list/ZUSgiVNQHiY/.

    Crunching the numbers – of the 16 titles over a span of 1994-2007, about 700,000 viewers gave an average rating of about 4.2/10. If you take out the two Tomb Raiders and Resident Evil, which are “artificially inflated” by female celebrity t&a (see the fake boob pun there?) then about 400,000 viewers gave an average rating of only 3.8/10. Yes, it’s not complete, and it may not be terribly accurate, but come on – even 4.2 (let alone 3.8) is right down in the “it’s crap” levels. Crossovers just don’t work well – games & (successful) movies are too much like chalk & cheese.

  18. Gordon Freeman has already been in a film!
    Charlie Sheen played him in a rather underrated 1996 sci-fi film called “The Arrival”.
    Well him does resemble old Gordo!

  19. Master74

    “Do you like the idea of a Half-Life movie?”
    As a big fan of the Half-Life series I have to say NO!
    There are already too many video games taken to the big screen and most of them (if not all) failed miserably. Just to mention some: Street Fighter, Mario Bros, Doom, Max Payne, and the list goes on…
    As Phillip said, Half-Life is an interactive experience, it’s not just something to be seen.

    On a side note, I remember posting (years ago) a thread on the old PP forums asking for a movie in which the Half-Life engine (Gold Src) had been used. Well, after a long time, I finally managed to find this movie @YouTube, go check it out, it’s really funny (jump to minute 3:03 to watch the Half-Life sequence):


    1. Ade

      Holy .. what a great find! Yea I’d def want more of those πŸ˜€

  20. CovertChaos

    I don’t really think reconverting the game(s) into a movie would be a great idea, because they really couldn’t capture the feel of it. It would be better if the movie were set in the universe, rather than based on any specific game. Like Phillip said, a seven hour war story could be interesting. Or maybe the black mesa incident from someone else’s point of view. A story about people working in the underground railroad would also be interesting. I just think that an original story would be much better than rehashing what we already know. We already know Gordon’s journey, and we already know how the other characters are affected. I would prefer a new story within the same universe; I think it could just be a better movie overall. Not to mention that in all honesty, Gordon Freeman would be an incredibly boring character, and it just wouldn’t feel right if they gave him dialogue.

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