Marc Laidlaw Vault

Tollbooth Willie

The Freeman
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
17,534
Reaction score
807
I asked first buddy!














btw I'm just picking at you, I don't mean any ill will towards you or Valve.
 

klow

Hunter
Joined
Nov 20, 2007
Messages
42
Reaction score
5
I would like to continue this thread with recent words from Marc and others about the issues pertaining to the date of the Black Mesa Incident, and gather the facts I have.

If you have followed the Portal 2 updates on GameInformer.com, you might have seen that the last paragraph of the original Aperture Science timeline has been expanded (the new text starting after "In many ways, the initial test goes well:"), hinting that the Black Mesa Incident occurred in 1998 (I won't go into detail with the other dates that have been changed). Many gamers including me found it lame and strange that HL was set during the same year it was released, and that it sucked that "1998" was too unlike the original "200-" date given back then.

So I started my investigation by writing on Facebook to the GI girl who wrote the article, Meagan VanBurkleo, on March 25, 2010, asking her where did that new paragraph come from, and if it had been written by Valve or if the GI team made it up. Here's what she answered the very same day:

Nope! All of that information, aside from the introduction, was supplied directly from Valve! Hope that helps!

Meg
Then I saw that several gamers had written to Marc about this and that he said that the BM Incident had not occurred before the noughties. For instance, a fellow user on Combine OverWiki also asked him for clarification. In a nutshell, "Is that 1998 or 200-?" Here's what he said:

Information coming out of Aperture about Black Mesa is bound to be biased and inaccurate. It is well established in the documentary evidence that was shipped with the original Half-Life that Gordon Freeman did not go to work at Black Mesa until sometime in the noughts.
Not completely content, I decided to ask him myself for clarification on April 9, 2010, and maybe get a precise date for the BM Incident (who knows?). I also told him that this apparent mistake also made some mess on our wiki (Combine OverWiki), and that we changed many pages more or less for nothing. Here's what he answered, not without some ironic humor:

Hi, Quentin,

Sorry to say, we'll never specify those dates precisely--Gordon's arrival at Black Mesa was sometime in the 2000's, and the Black Mesa Incident was a short while after that (not his first day at work, however, as some have conjectured--maybe based on some jokes we made back in the day). At the time we came up with the time range, it was deliberately kept vague, and the reasons for doing that have not changed.

I'm sorry that the site has to suffer the fallout of this inconsistency. I will send your mail along to the Portal team, and also waggle my finger at them when I pass them in the hall.

Best,

Marc Laidlaw
Not the best answer from the master, but better than nothing!

Then I annoyed Meagan again on April 17, 2010, to try to understand how that confusion came to be and see if she heard any word from Valve about that mistake. Here's what she said on April 19:

Hey Quentin!

No, I haven't heard anything from the Portal writers on the subject. The info came from Erik Wolpaw if you would like to follow up with him!
So it appears that our friend Erik is the culprit. I wondered why he didn't consult Marc before. How can't he know now that there are many hardcore HL fans who take these dates very seriously! :p Then I wrote to him, but about something else. We won't get any more from them, so let's be content with what we have.
 

ríomhaire

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 31, 2004
Messages
20,874
Reaction score
414
Thanks for the update on that. I was wondering about how the two dates matched up but I wasn't really bothered to be pro-active about it. Just try not to get Erik fired by pointing out this mistake too much!
 

Polaris

Spy
Joined
Nov 3, 2004
Messages
3,137
Reaction score
1
Thanks a lot klow! Always nice to see some valuable info here...
 

ríomhaire

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 31, 2004
Messages
20,874
Reaction score
414
I was re-reading over the emails you got from Laidlaw and
Information coming out of Aperture about Black Mesa is bound to be biased and inaccurate.
I just realised, this is a bit of a stealth jab at the Portal writing team isn't it? Just replace Aperture with Portal and Black Mesa with Half-Life.
 

kineaesth

Newbie
Joined
Dec 14, 2006
Messages
0
Reaction score
309
I have several hundred out-of-office replies that I personally received from Marc, and a few mailer-daemon responses as well. I'll add them to the OP and resticky the thread in a while
 

klow

Hunter
Joined
Nov 20, 2007
Messages
42
Reaction score
5
Hey guys, some new facts about the Borealis, retrieved by ШЛЫК from the Half-Life Beta Project.

Hello Marc,

There's this question which has been eating away at me for years, since I first read Geoff Keighley's "The Final Hours of Half-Life 2". There it was said that in your first pass at the Half-Life 2 script, players would start aboard the Borealis. Is this true, and if so, how would this have worked, exactly? It's not mentioned in any other sources, and the infamous 2003 leak only included game levels in which the Borealis was placed towards the end of the game.

Thanks for reading!
Sincerely, yet another Half-Life fan

RE: Half-Life 2 question
That is basically correct, however that wasn't really the "first pass" at the script. We had many different starting places and many different storylines we kicked around.

In that version, you started on the ice, on foot, near the ice-locked Borealis, and then you boarded it, made you way through the ship, the ship travelled out of the ice and you boarded a minisub that took you down to an underwater lab run by Dr. Mossman and an army of stalkers. The lab was flooded, you narrowly escaped in an escape pod, were rescued by rebels and fought your way to a weather station where you boarded a C40 that flew you to the city where you crashed into a skyscraper and worked your way down through the ruined building to ground level where...my memories become unclear because we never built most of this. We already felt it wasn't working and we were moving on to more compelling scenarios. So in answer to your question "how would this have worked, exactly?" I reply, "It wouldn't work." That's why we didn't make it.

I'm not sure why people thought Borealis was placed toward the end of the game in the stolen version. (By the way, it was not a "leak." It was "theft.")
Hello again mr. Laidlaw.
In my e-mail to you from yesterday I've asked you about mention that Gordon originally was to start his HL2 journey from Borealis. In your reply you wrote "I'm not sure why people thought Borealis was placed toward the end of the game in the stolen version." I attached a map of original HL2 journey from Raising the Bar book, where you can see "Path of Borealis" is set in the second half of the journey, so that's why everyone thinks it was placed towards the end of HL2. It seems that this particular version of HL2's events also fits the plotline you described. Also, most of the stolen Borealis maps have the prefix "D3", which means they would be set in the third day of the game's chronology, closer to the end of the game.
Could the confusion have started with GameSpot? Apparently Raising the Bar mentions game settings like Washington D.C. and the Middle East, but there is no indication there that the game's introduction would have occured on the icebreaker.

RE: RE: Half-Life 2 question
Ah...that diagram shows a later version of the story than the one I described. And the DC/Middle East settings were even earlier than the version that had Borealis in it. Don't forget, we had six years to churn through alternatives and lose our way over and over again.
 

Lilgreenman

Medic
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
8
Reaction score
4
Thanks for the stuff, I'll post them on the Steam forum version once it gets back online
 

klow

Hunter
Joined
Nov 20, 2007
Messages
42
Reaction score
5
Here is further info about the Race X, in a 2006 e-mail exchange between Combine OverWiki's Marphy and Gearbox's CEO Randy Pitchford. In the e-mail Marph asks Randy what is the role of the Race X in the Half-Life universe.

Question:

In Opposing Force, are Race X and Xen creatures (the Nihilanth's forces and such) intended to be enemies against each other? Or are they allies working on the same side? They are never seen fighting ingame (or together in the same area, for that matter), but some believe that there's evidence to support them being hostile to one another, and vice versa.
Answer:

I worked within a framework articulated to me by Marc Laidlaw of Valve that allowed for many alien species to exist in the universe – some intelligent, some not – some with agendas, some without. With what was revealed, you can deduce that the masters of the aliens referred to as "Race X" clearly have some sentience and some agenda and they clearly employ or subjugate other aliens... In that way, they are similar to the creatures that have subjugated the Vortigaunts (and you learn more about that in HL2). Other than that, there is no clear answer to your question given the information that's been revealed by the games.
 

Barnz

Retired Content Creator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 11, 2004
Messages
5,171
Reaction score
306
Does Valve have any concerns over releasing old builds of Half-Life?
Me - April 27, 2015

Hey Marc

I was wondering - I know a person (though I don't want to reveal his name) who happens to have a pre-release build of Half-Life from late 1997, and he's been teasing people on several websites since 2013. When I asked him if he could share his copy with other people, he said he couldn't do it without Valve's permission. Does anyone at Valve actually mind this? Are there any legal issues preventing him from uploading the contents of the disc?

Thanks.

Does Valve have any concerns over releasing old builds of Half-Life?
Marc Laidlaw - April 28, 2015

I’m not a lawyer but I wouldn’t advise doing this without legal authorization. “Does anyone at Valve mind?” is not the same question as “Is it legal?” Even if “anyone at Valve” is fine with it, the ownership of the game at that point in time could be legally complicated. Messing with someone else’s IP is risky.
 

Abelard Tullus

Sandvich
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
I sent an email to Mark about Cremators (and also putting in that they were my favourite cut enemy), asking why they were cut and if they were canon since a head of one can be found in Black Mesa East. He didn't seem to answer directly, but he said some interesting stuff nonetheless.

I always loved those guys too. They never got the attention they needed to be a fun, functional monster...only rudimentary code, very little level design to put them to use. They were originally a story element and just never got fleshed out into a game element. Originally their heads were used as the model for all the rollermines and not only Dog's ball. The mines had a lot more character then than the generic sci-fi version that shipped.
 

Lila03

Headcrab
Joined
Aug 19, 2015
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
I remember reading that it is very likely that Shepard will be the dude in Portal... His name is alot like the gun abbreviation.
 

Clan Wolf 2

Hunter
Joined
Feb 25, 2014
Messages
71
Reaction score
7
from 2011 portal 2 ARG
Valve have been dropping cryptic hints that there's more to come from the ARG . A decrypted morse code message hidden in the latest Steamcast read "it's not over the others have been compromised." Later, a message from the mysterious "Doug" alludes to an Aperture Science Icebreaker Ship. The only one of those we know about is the Borealis. The Borealis was last seen seen at the end of Half Life 2: Episode 2.


The details here have been gleaned from the Valve ARG wiki . Here's the message from Doug in full.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

---LOG FROM [ REDACTED ], BY J.H. TO C.J.---

1. We designed the entire thing to be very, very durable. It was easy to get the materials since everyone's been thinking it's a simple icebreaker ship. Ha.

2. We have made sure to strip it of anything not necessary, so that we have plenty of space for it. It doesn't have any backup supplies in the event the crew runs out of food, though. And there isn't much food onboard in the first place.

3. In the event you need to send it off all of a sudden, use the OR box with code 'hb1'.

That's all, C.J. Not much else I can tell you other than this won't leave a blight on our record. Mesa is going to be sore when they see what we've done.
 

Ennui

The Freeman
Joined
Dec 31, 2003
Messages
22,704
Reaction score
112
Might as well throw this up here... recent email exchange I had with Marc on 12/3/16:

Me:
Hi Marc,

Just wondering - if Valve gave you the go-ahead, would you consider writing a novel or series of novels in the Half-Life universe intended to bring closure to the storyline?
Marc:
No. The whole interest of the thing to me was in crafting a story that hinged entirely on FPS game design considerations. Not interested in going back there and resurrecting that whole particular set of story problems. I’d rather continue to explore new challenges, and keep moving forward, or whatever direction this is that I’m going in.
:(
 

Evo

Tank
Joined
May 6, 2005
Messages
6,523
Reaction score
6
Might as well throw this up here... recent email exchange I had with Marc on 12/3/16:

Me:


Marc:


:(
This makes me sad :(

With Marc's departure from Valve, I've all but given up on Gabe's empire ever focusing on Half-Life again, at least not as a traditional FPS. They might do some wacky VR stuff, but that won't be of any interest to me.

What a shame.
 

Ennui

The Freeman
Joined
Dec 31, 2003
Messages
22,704
Reaction score
112
I'm sad to say I agree. We are all of us relics of a past age. But damn, what an age it was!
 

ríomhaire

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 31, 2004
Messages
20,874
Reaction score
414
I mean wasn't he posting on Twitter from the personal of Dr Breen's conciousness in an advisor body for a little while? Kind of suggests he was interested in exploring Half-Life in a different way at some point.
 
Top