Remember Adrian Shephard? The star of Half-Life 1 expansion Opposing Force hasn't been seen since, although that hasn't stopped gamers speculating on the future of the US Marine Corporal who found himself caught up in the original Black Mesa research incident that propelled Gordon Freeman to fame.
One particular rumour focuses on Portal, Valve's upcoming first-person puzzler, which is known to tie in with the Half-Life universe, and tellingly outfits the player with a weapon called the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device. Those initials - ASHPD - have certainly excited interest. With this in mind, we asked Valve's Doug Lombardi if there was any kind of connection during a recent visit to the studio to catch up on their games. "Total freak coincidence!" he declared, exploding with laughter. "We're not going to be coy - it's just one of those weird things where we saw that and went, 'Oh sh**, it does!' It surprised us as much as anybody else."
But Gabe Newell, Valve's co-founder, has previously hinted that Shephard might return, telling HalfLife2.net forum users last March that he was "sure" the company would "get back to him one of these days". We asked Lombardi if those days were nearing. "There's a lot of interest in Adrian Shephard," he admitted. "There's nothing being built today, there's no secret Adrian Shephard project going on right now, but that's not to say we won't ever come back and tell another Shephard story. He resonated with players really, really well. When we heard the pitch for Opposing Force, he resonated with us too. So we'll see."
For more on Portal, check out our first impressions, and watch out for more on Half-Life 2: Episode Two and Valve's other projects in the coming days.