What is Project Borealis?
Project Borealis is a fan-made game based on the Half-Life 2: Episode 3 plot outline posted by former lead Half-Life 2 writer Marc Laidlaw, titled Epistle 3. Our goal is to use Marc's writing to create the conclusion fans have been waiting for, and we're aiming to reach the same level of quality the Half-Life series is known for. The team aims to bring the Half-Life universe into a modern development setting with improved graphics, while retaining the original style and feel of Half-Life 2 and its episodes.
When is Project Borealis going to be released?
We have not announced a release date for the game yet. However, we do intend to release a tech demo soon that helps test gameplay systems like movement mechanics, AI interaction, and weapon feel, set in the familiar environment of Ravenholm. Keep in mind that the tech demo is intended only to be a showcase of gameplay mechanics up until that point; we will be using feedback from the tech demo to improve and iterate upon gameplay systems in preparation for the full game.
Where can I follow your progress?
You can follow our progress in many places, principally on our subreddit, Twitter, and website, where regular development updates will be posted. We also have a Discord server where you can chat to the developers and ask us questions.
How much will the game cost?
We currently have no plans to charge for the game. While this is our current intention, it may be subject to change.
How large is your team?
At the time of writing, the development team has over 80 members.
How do you manage such a large team?
We have a team of Project Managers who work to coordinate the project, and each team has a team lead who manages work for that team. This structure makes sure our work is focused and effectively prioritized, without introducing too much bureaucracy.
What engine are you using and why isn't it Source?
Unreal Engine presents the team with better opportunities for delivering an enjoyable experience than the Source Engine, which was used for the previous Half-Life games. Source is an outdated and less efficient engine to use when compared with Unreal Engine. We feel, as a team, that using a more modern engine will better reflect our vision for the game and are confident that we can recreate the feel of the Source Engine in Unreal Engine. Our Ravenholm tech demo will help demonstrate our progress so far, and will give us the opportunity to use feedback from the demo to better the full game.
Can I join the team?
Yes... well, maybe. Our current team openings are listed here - if you’re interested in one of the positions, please apply!
I don't have any experience in the gaming industry, can I still apply?
Yes - gaming industry experience is a big plus for us, but we value enthusiasm, skill, and commitment for the project above qualifications and experience.
Can I help with translating to my language?
The short answer is that translation is post-production work, and we’re just not there yet. We will post an announcement calling for help once we get to that stage.
What do the writers have planned for [insert plot point here]?
We don’t intend to publicly release any major plot points before the game’s release. You can already read the Epistle, which this game will be primarily based on, but we will not be releasing details about additions we are making.
Is this feature or enemy going to be in the game?
Like the plot points, we're keeping some features like new enemies, weapons, mechanics or the like under wraps for now. Keep an eye on our development updates for sneak peeks!
When and how do you plan on hiring voice actors?
We have not yet sent out calls for voice actors as we aren't at the stage in development where they are needed. We would love for the original voice actors to be part of the project, but this may not be feasible.
What are your concerns about possible legal issues with Valve?
Given Valve's track record with fan mods and games, we're not overly worried about any repercussions from them. Valve has allowed user mods and fan games that using both the Source Engine and others (including Unreal Engine), such as Black Mesa, Prospekt, and Portal Stories. Nevertheless, we intend to reach out to them formally once the public tech demo is complete, and obtain their official blessing to continue with our game. We have considered other options could the worst possible scenario - a DMCA or similar - occur, but we think this is unlikely. There have been attempts to contact Valve about this project, but it is notoriously difficult to get Valve lawyers to respond.
What would you do if Valve released Episode 3 or Half-Life 3?
We plan to continue working on the game regardless of official Half-Life releases, primarily following the Epistle 3 story as published.
Are you doing any form of multiplayer?
Multiplayer comes with huge engineering costs. Programming authoritative servers, client replication and more increases the work we have to do significantly. We will continue to evaluate the value multiplayer can give players, but for now, it is unlikely there will be a deathmatch mode at release and even more unlikely that co-op support will be added.
Is there any sort of competition with other projects of similar nature?
No, not at all. We support, and are on good terms with, other projects based on Epistle 3. What we are doing is not about proving anything to anyone, what we are doing is having fun together as a group of fans who want to achieve the same goal. We are aware of other similar projects and support them equally.
What will you do after Project Borealis?
We’re not sure! It would really be a decision we make after finishing Project Borealis, as it depends on how well this goes and if we have enough energy and interest to make other games after this one.
How far along are you in the project in terms of percent?
Progress in any sort of development project, especially in game dev, is not linear. Usually, the first 10 to 20% of the project will take a long time, then up to 90% will be faster with the basic groundwork in place, and finally, you reach that last 10% for polishing which could as long as needed. Therefore, it’s not feasible to estimate progress exactly, but we can say that it’s coming along nicely so far!
Our focus is currently on both building out the game's core systems, and making a tech demo for you all to play, in order to get your feedback on how we're doing in the new engine. Your feedback is important as it will help us steer in the right direction for the future! Be sure to check back for development updates and news about the tech demo!