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Data strings in the latest Counter-Strike 2 update hint at two new Valve games, and one of them might just be Half-Life related

A Half-Life fan’s favourite pastime (aside from actually playing Half-Life games) is latching onto the tiniest hope that a new Half-Life might be just around the corner. I say this as one such eternally optimistic Half-Life fan. Which is why I started vibrating with excitement at a single data string hidden in the latest Counter-Strike 2 update.

The string was uncovered by the Valve-oriented content creator “Gabe Follower”. It was actually one of two chunks of code extracted from the update that hint at two different games, but we’ll deal with the Half-Life one first as it’s the most specific and straightforward. In a tweet earlier this week, Gabe Follower posted an image of the code, which includes the line “type = hlx_2d_basic”.

As Gabe Follower explains in the same tweet, the “hlx” part of that string is similar to the codename for Half-Life: Alyx – HLVR. But the X makes the codename considerably more vague. Could it be the codename for Half-Life 3? Possibly. Valve would certainly know that code which contained the phrase “hl3” would result in the Internet exploding, and might opt for a less loaded term.

A frankly more sensible suggestion in the replies is that the X might stand for “cross-platform”, implying that hlx refers to a PSVR 2 version of Half-Life Alyx. Really though, it could be anything. Half-Life: Xen. Half-Life: Xtreme Karting, who knows?

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The other code snippet Gabe Follower posts is a little meatier, with around 30 lines of code all under the heading “Citadel”. Codename: Citadel is a name Valve has used before. Again, the name is Half-Lifey in its implication, but previous reports have suggested that Citadel is a multiplayer game, and the rest of the code bears this out, with lines like “EGuidedBotMatchObjective” and “CitadelLobbyPlayerSlot_t”.

Whatever it is, it sure involves a lot of movement. Other lines in the code include “ELeapPhase”, “EHurdleType”, “EMantlePhase”, and “EGrappleState”. It also includes a surveillance drone, as hinted at by the line “ESurveillanceDroneState_t”. Perhaps the most suggestive line in the code, however, is “HeroID_t”. This suggests either a follow-up to Dota 2, or perhaps a new Team Fortress game with more of a hero shooter vibe.

Whether or not these code snippets are part of Valve’s next project(s), I imagine we’ll hear about whatever they’re working on soon. Valve has been pretty consistent with new game releases lately, with Half-Life Alyx in 2020, Aperture Desk Job accompanying the Steam Deck in 2022, and Counter-Strike 2 last year. There’s also the rumour of a new Valve VR headset on the horizon, which, if that’s the case, might pave the way for the studio’s next game.

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