Half-Life 2, a sequel to the influential 1998 FPS game, is often regarded as Valve's greatest achievement. Its tight combat, intriguing story, and dystopian setting contribute to its status as one of the greatest shooters of all time. However, have you ever wondered what life was like for the people of City 17 before the Combine arrived? YouTuber Radiation Hazard recently provided a glimpse into this alternate reality.
Using beta footage from the game, Radiation Hazard's video showcases what Half-Life 2 looked like prior to Gordon Freeman's involvement. In the absence of war and the Combine, the city and its surroundings appear as they should be: undamaged and unaffected by enslavement.
Even Ravenholm, the terrifying location turned horror experience, appears serene before its downfall. The video captures the mining town in broad daylight, revealing a landscape that is abandoned yet habitable, in contrast to its dilapidated state in the game. Nonetheless, the setting remains eerie, perhaps due to the industrial aesthetic and lack of people. Valve's ability to create a mood is evident, as Half-Life 2 still exudes a sense of oppression and unease, even without the chaos, corpses, and graffiti.
It is interesting to speculate how the game would have felt if Freeman had to protect an idyllic fishing village rather than the grim reality of City 17. The contrast between the peaceful pre-Combine era and the bleak post-Combine world adds depth to the game's narrative and emphasizes the oppressive nature of the dystopian setting.
Overall, Radiation Hazard's video offers fans a unique perspective on Half-Life 2 and highlights Valve's skill in creating immersive environments. It serves as a reminder of the game's enduring legacy and its ability to captivate players, even without the apocalyptic backdrop.