And this is why you don’t joke about Half-Life 3

Is there anything more sad than having to tell a Half-Life 3 conspiracist that their theory is wrong? The pain you see in their eyes as you break the news to them that their latest theory is nothing more than hot air? They probably spent months years putting together random bits of "clues," released over time by Valve, into some sort of coherent message designed to tease the Half-Life 3 announcement. Just for PC Gamer to come out and tell them it was all a joke

I'm talking about the latest issue of PC Gamer in which the back of the magazine — the section intended to get some laughs from its readers — had an image of a fake Valve elevator control panel. As you can see, floor 13 was labeled "Half-Life 3 Development" before being scratched off and replaced with a sticky that reads "FPS Terrarium" — a nice gag paying homage to the Valve feature article the magazine ran in the very same issue.

Normally, it'd be funny little gag. Except when it comes to Valve and its fans, you cannot joke about Half-Life 3. And this is whyHalf-Life fans just take it to an entirely different level! Thankfully PC Gamer set the record straight, explaining the whole situation.

Every month we close off with something that we hope will make our readers laugh, and it’s usually based on the feature on the cover. For this issue, we thought we’d make fun of Valve.

The result was a fake elevator control panel with funny names for various floors in their building. Following yesterday’s Half-Life 2 patch, a lot of people have become convinced that it’s all part of an elaborate scheme to reveal the long-awaited sequel.

It’s not. It’s a joke, in the part of the magazine where we do jokes. It was written by me and designed by one of our art editors, Julian.

There’s no significance to the crossed-out entry for ‘Half-Life 3 Development’ being on floor 13 beyond the fact that American buildings tend not to have a 13th floor. The fact that it’s crossed-out and that someone has replaced it with ‘FPS developer terrarium’ was intended to be so silly that nobody would take the suggestion seriously.

Leave it to Half-Life 3 fans to take a joke and run wild with crazy conspiracies. Now, how long before they over analyze this explanation as some sort of Valve cover-up?