The next Half-Life game is probably a lot closer than you think!

Note, the following is ALL speculation.

Valve isn't about to have a long, publicized development period for HL2:EP3/HL3. Clearly they are working with completely new, innovative technology and/or gameplay mechanics, and they don't want to show anything off until much closer to release. Kinda like how TF2 just came out of nowhere, Valve doesn't want to reveal the game and have it become obsolete and ripped-off before it can even launch. Not to mention they don't want to risk another leak, or have we all forgotten how some German kid almost singlehandedly brought down Valve?

 A good reason not to reveal anything until it's close to release
Portal 2 was shown really really early, because P2 is a game where you need thousands of hours of playtesting. They showed us early builds of the game, with lots of spiked mashers. The press and us, the gamers, responded that Portal 2 was looking to be too difficult and twitch/reflex based to be a true sequel to the original. Portal 2 had a lot riding on it, it was a huge, expensive multiplatform release.

Valve knows how to make an FPS, and no doubt the next HL game will be released exclusively digitally (faster release, all profit goes to Valve), at least initially. It's also a huge IP, Valve knows there's a huge, dedicated fan-base that's going to buy it, and there will be huge media exposure.

Not to mention that the game (which is most likely built on a future-version of the Source engine) probably isn't going to be quite as groundbreaking technically as HL (and HL2) were. When HL2 released, few games had such level of immersion and attention to detail. Few games can come close to the lip-syncing and facial animations even now. Announcing it during E3 is unwise, that's when everything will be announced. Expect it to come a month or two after all the big releases have been announced.
 Let's consider the fact that Valve knows what they're doing. They know we're antsy. They know it needs to have been worth the wait.

When HL2 was released, it came just after the what was at the time probably the biggest launch in the history of console gaming, Halo 2. Halo 2 really did put competitive online console gaming on the map. PC purists talk a lot of shit about Halo 2, but it's an understatement to say it dwarfed HL2's release. Valve is an indie studio, and Bungie had just been purchased by Microsoft game studios. There was an enormous, bagillion dollar marketing campaign, that shitty song by Breaking Benjamin, and there were two different physical releases.
Half-Life 2's launch dwarfed in comparison to Halo 2's midnight madness extravaganza. 
It makes much more sense for Valve to release the next Half Life game during a slow period, like the after-Christmas gaming-drought. They spend very little money on distribution (I'm sure there will be a Collector's Edition, though you'll need to order it directly from Valve, and they might even be limited to pre-order) because physical media isn't required, they don't have their thunder stolen by another Halo 2, the game doesn't risk becoming outdated before it's release.

The HL2 launch was a mess. Valve has learned from that. They have no advantage to releasing during the high-game traffic Christmas months. With Steam, they reach the same audience no matter what time of year, and they can give sales that are better than those of Black Friday. Let's all just look at Portal 2 and realize that Valve clearly knows what they're doing, and I'm hopeful we'll have an announcement soon, and the actual game within a year. 
     
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Posted by InertiaticESP
Note, the following is ALL speculation.

Valve isn't about to have a long, publicized development period for HL2:EP3/HL3. Clearly they are working with completely new, innovative technology and/or gameplay mechanics, and they don't want to show anything off until much closer to release. Kinda like how TF2 just came out of nowhere, Valve doesn't want to reveal the game and have it become obsolete and ripped-off before it can even launch. Not to mention they don't want to risk another leak, or have we all forgotten how some German kid almost singlehandedly brought down Valve?

 A good reason not to reveal anything until it's close to release
Portal 2 was shown really really early, because P2 is a game where you need thousands of hours of playtesting. They showed us early builds of the game, with lots of spiked mashers. The press and us, the gamers, responded that Portal 2 was looking to be too difficult and twitch/reflex based to be a true sequel to the original. Portal 2 had a lot riding on it, it was a huge, expensive multiplatform release.

Valve knows how to make an FPS, and no doubt the next HL game will be released exclusively digitally (faster release, all profit goes to Valve), at least initially. It's also a huge IP, Valve knows there's a huge, dedicated fan-base that's going to buy it, and there will be huge media exposure.

Not to mention that the game (which is most likely built on a future-version of the Source engine) probably isn't going to be quite as groundbreaking technically as HL (and HL2) were. When HL2 released, few games had such level of immersion and attention to detail. Few games can come close to the lip-syncing and facial animations even now. Announcing it during E3 is unwise, that's when everything will be announced. Expect it to come a month or two after all the big releases have been announced.
 Let's consider the fact that Valve knows what they're doing. They know we're antsy. They know it needs to have been worth the wait.

When HL2 was released, it came just after the what was at the time probably the biggest launch in the history of console gaming, Halo 2. Halo 2 really did put competitive online console gaming on the map. PC purists talk a lot of shit about Halo 2, but it's an understatement to say it dwarfed HL2's release. Valve is an indie studio, and Bungie had just been purchased by Microsoft game studios. There was an enormous, bagillion dollar marketing campaign, that shitty song by Breaking Benjamin, and there were two different physical releases.
Half-Life 2's launch dwarfed in comparison to Halo 2's midnight madness extravaganza. 
It makes much more sense for Valve to release the next Half Life game during a slow period, like the after-Christmas gaming-drought. They spend very little money on distribution (I'm sure there will be a Collector's Edition, though you'll need to order it directly from Valve, and they might even be limited to pre-order) because physical media isn't required, they don't have their thunder stolen by another Halo 2, the game doesn't risk becoming outdated before it's release.

The HL2 launch was a mess. Valve has learned from that. They have no advantage to releasing during the high-game traffic Christmas months. With Steam, they reach the same audience no matter what time of year, and they can give sales that are better than those of Black Friday. Let's all just look at Portal 2 and realize that Valve clearly knows what they're doing, and I'm hopeful we'll have an announcement soon, and the actual game within a year.