Content of the article: "We calculated that Gordon Freeman’s body count across all games is 1,527 kills (with almost two-thirds being from Half-Life 2 alone)."
Last year multiple friends and I started to calculate Gordon Freeman’s kill count across his entire modern-day Half-Life series. At the time we knew Freeman’s body count was over 1,000 casualties, but we wanted to wait till Black Mesa (specifically Xen) was finished before finalising said count. That didn’t happen till May, in the midst of corona, but we did find a way to remotely record, count and document everything.
Now we finally have Freeman’s final kill count. If you want the TL;DR, we found that Freeman personally gunned down or crowbarred 1,527 hostiles. Here’s a breakdown if the community wants to verify our work…
Black Mesa (2012): 399 kills
Black Mesa: Xen (2020): 178 kills
Half-Life 2 (2004): 751 kills
Episode One + Episode Two (2006 + 2007): 199 kills
Each instalment’s analysis is in this
, if that’s alright with the mods. Nobody can deny that Freeman the Messiah is literally a mass murderer in Half-Life 2, including its episodes, and that was despite our attempts to limit Freeman’s body count whenever possible. Heck, even if we’d wanted to kill everyone so we could inflate these numbers…
We couldn’t kill everything, due to limited ammo and infinite respawns.
Where we encountered infinitely respawning enemies, we opted to run past them to save ammo and avoid needless damage. This likely aligns with how the developers intended to depict Freeman anyway: As an ammo-starved survivalist, rather than Rambo. In general, anytime we encountered enemies we could either avoid without taking damage or allow allies like Alyx or Grigori to murder for us, we took the opportunity.
Freeman has (practically) identical body counts in Black Mesa and Half-Life.
I work with youth, and whilst some have played Half-Life, far more of them are familiar with Black Mesa. Black Mesa isn’t a 100 per cent accurate remake of Half-Life, but I personally reviewed both and found that Freeman’s kill count in Half-Life is around 526, reasonably close to his kill count of 577 in Black Mesa and Black Mesa: Xen combined.
I’m surprised this is the case, given differences between the remake and original. The earthbound chapters in Black Mesa are shorter than those in Half-Life, whereas the Xen chapters in Black Mesa: Xen are longer than those in Half-Life. So ultimately, the body counts of both balanced each other. Maybe the developers did this intentionally?
If people insist, we can analyse the original Half-Life someday.
I like Black Mesa, but I understand purists will prefer a kill count that analyses the original Half-Life instead. If we have time and the community insists, yes, we can analyse Half-Life, although I’m hesitant to do the same for spinoffs like Opposing Force, Blue Shift and Alyx (and forget about Hunt Down the Refund). Currently I want to focus on Gordon Freeman, so…
If Project Borealis is released before Half-Life 3, we’ll add it to Freeman’s kill count.
Leaked maps over the years seem to suggest Half-Life 3 isn’t technically dead. Instead Valve has prototyped ideas for a third instalment over the years, though evidently none met Valve’s standard. Unlike Valve’s other franchises (cough), all Half-Life games seem designed to showcase new Valve tech and “solve interesting problems”. Lost Coast showcased HDR, Episode One did AI, Episode Two did Cinematic Physics, and Alyx did VR. So, until Valve develops new tech it wants to showcase, we likely won’t see Half-Life 3 soon.
If Project Borealis is released first, we’ll analyse it on the rationale that it’s based on Marc Laidlaw’s original vision. Interestingly, the ending of Alyx seems like an attempt by Valve to (spoiler!) contradict Laidlaw’s “Epistle 3” and show that Valve has its own ideas for where its series should go.
Alyx returns Half-Life to its survival roots, but will Half-Life 3 take that direction?
The original Half-Life was a survival story about grappling with unknowable forces trying to kill you. It wasn’t a power fantasy till Half-Life 2, with Freeman being Earth’s saviour. Alyx returns the series to survival mode, bordering on survival horror, which makes sense because VR naturally complements horror. Unless Half-Life 3 is also VR, it likely won’t continue this direction. Ultimately, it’ll depend on what new tech Valve wants to explore, and what gameplay goes best with that tech. If Valve decides raytraced shadows are the future, maybe we’ll get a stealth spinoff someday.
- Half-Life has not aged well. Half-Life 2 is better than I expected it to be.
- I have just finished Half Life 2 and its Episodes and…
- Prey (2017), “the Half-Life game I’ve always wanted to play”
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