Last week, a trio of plucky Canadian gamers decided they were tired of waiting for Half-Life 3 to come out, and rather than complain on the internet like normal people, they decided to do something about it. Justin, Kieth and Eddy, like a trio of of Don Quixotes, gathered outside Valve's offices in Bellvue, Washington and began throwing Molotov cocktails and breaking windows... okay, I lied. They mostly spent two days standing around, holding cardboard signs politely. This is their ridiculous story.
G4: What were you protesting?
Eddy: Primarily, the lack of a new Half-Life release. It's been long enough that we thought the title deserved a new number, rather than another episode (thus we wrote HL3, rather than HL2:EP3, sorry about the boo-boo, Internets!).
Keith: Valve's very extended delay of Half Life 2: Episode 3 and the fact that they have not mentioned anything about a Half Life game in something like two years or so.
G4: Describe a day of protesting at Valve.
Justin: Keith and I pretty much decided on a whim Tuesday night that we were going to follow through with this idea. So Wednesday morning at about 7am we got in my Jeep and drove down to Bellevue. We arrived at about 10:30am to $25 parking lots and empty stomachs. After driving around a bit we found (FREE) parking in a Toys'R'us, this is also where we found the cardboard for our signs. We walked about two blocks to the building where Valve was and set up our signs, lawnchairs, and cooler (complete with 4 sprites - we were so prepared) across the street. Almost immediately we started noticing people looking at us from inside the building. Eddy later joined, and we continued with our protest. A few games of catch were played and then we found the cheapest hotel we could and did it all again the next day.
E: It was a lot of lounging around on the lawn opposite of their building. We had lawn chairs and blankets set up along with snacks and drinks (much of which came from exceptionally hospitable Valve employees, since my intrepid friends forgot to bring sufficient food and drink). I had a laptop with me, and we were chatting with people on Reddit as it was happening.
G4: What was the reaction from Valve?
K: Almost instantly, from when we sat down, people started noticing us outside. We got a bunch of waves and pictures taken of us. Eventually a guy from Valve came down and gave us both Dota 2 shirts.
J: It was great! Better than any of us could have expected. We were threatened with a few flashes of a broadsword, but after that calmed down we were welcomed with open arms.
E: From what we've been told, they loved it. We had people constantly taking pictures of us from the window both days, and according to some employees, there was a huge internal email thread saying how funny the whole thing was, along with many photoshops of the picture Justin and Keith took with Gabe.
G4: Did you get to meet Gabe? What was he like?
J: He came out in the morning of the first day and introduced himself and Eric Johnson and a few others to us. He was a really great guy, excellent sense of humour too.
K: Yeah we did, maybe forty minutes after the first guy from valve came down we spotted Gabe and Eric Johnson walking out the front door and across the street. He came up to us with a big laughing grin on his face, asked us a couple questions about what we were doing and then he invited us in for a tour. He was just the happiest guy, was in the best humour about the whole thing.
G4: Did anyone at Valve give you insider information on when Half-Life 3 is coming?
J: They tried to feed us falsities in jest, but other than that they were pretty tight lipped about it. There was however one area of the tour that was out of bounds due to "Secret development projects." So I kinda hope there's something about HL:3 going on in there.
K: If only that happened, sadly the protest was a failure in that regard. We did however walk by some rooms which we were not allowed to go in to. Hopefully thats where its being developed. We didn't get any Half Life information but we did get to see the new unfinished DOTA 2 trailer, I thought that was pretty sweet.
E: Not a single peep. I had my tour of the Valve offices on the second day of the protest since I arrived late on the first day, so I got to see Counter-Stike: Global Offensive being playtested before it was announced. I was being shown around by Jess Cliffe, no less.
G4: Did you get cool Swag?
K: Did we ever! Valve being the cool company that they are loaded us up with swag. We got t-shirts, stickers, a headcrab hat, plush TF2 sticky bombs and two headcrab models made from valves 3D printer.
J: Not only did we get some awesome swag, but we were introduced to a bunch of the staff and got a great tour of the Valve facilities from Eric Johnson. I think the best score was by Keith in the 3D printer room. He got a 3D print out of a 1:2 sized head crab. We also got some plush sticky bombs, a headcrab hat, and a bunch of awesome T-shirts.
G4: Are you planning to protest again? What other games developers will feel the mighty wrath of your civil obedience?
K: No future plans have been made yet. Maybe eventually, but who knows. This was just something to do because we were bored one day. Didn't really expect things to turn out as well as they did. We're not really protesters by nature...
E: We didn't really even "plan" this one, per se. But so far, no further protests are in the works. Maybe if Bethesda delayed Skyrim for a few years...
G4: Do you want other gamers to join your cause?
K: If it gets Valve to say something about Episode 3 than protest away gamers.
E: If they are nice about it, I don't see why not. Something we really want to get across is that this protest was (mostly) in jest. Heck, it was more a show of support for Valve than an "Arg, we have entitlement issues, give us games!". We were doing what we usually do in our free time back home - hanging out - only we were doing it in Bellevue, with signs. We tried to be as minimally disruptive as possible, cleaned up after ourselves, and did it on public space. A police officer who was called to the scene even commended us for being so well-behaved (he was a Half-Life fan himself, no less!).
G4: You are the most polite protestors in history! Nice job, fellas!