UPDATE: The Valve voice actor who last week suggested Half-Life 3 was not currently in production has retracted his statement.
John Patrick Lowrie has removed the comments from his personal blog and posted a retraction - reproduced in full below.
So, is Half-Life 3 in production after all? Lowrie now claims "I really don't know".
"My comments just seemed to cause a whole bunch of confusion and when I tried to minimize the confusion I misspoke and caused a whole bunch more confusion," he said. "The most important thing to know about voice actors is that we're the last to know anything. We don't find out about a project until we get hired to do voices for it.
"What I was trying to say before (and failed) is that whatever Gabe Newell has to say about a project is the best info you're going to get. He owns the company and knows what's going on.
"Sorry that I gave the impression that I know what's going on. I really wasn't trying to and I really don't know."
ORIGINAL STORY: Half-Life 2 voice actor John Patrick Lowrie has stated that, as far as he knows, Half-Life 3 is not currently in development.
The chief reason for this, Lowrie believes, is today's limited motion-capture tech. "As far as I know they are not developing HL3 now for several reasons, among them the mo-cap issue," Lowrie explained in a comment on his blog. (Thanks, NeoGAF). "What they might decide in the future depends on lots of different factors. I hope they do, personally, but it has to make sense for them."
He went on to explain that while today's mo-cap technology is great for cutscenes and scripted cinematics, it doesn't work so well for emergent reactions. "One of the great things about HL2 is that all of the characters that you meet actually look at you when they talk to you no matter where you go or stand. With mo-cap you can't do that, at least not yet. Once you film the actor doing something and capture that motion, that's what the character is going to do. This works great in movies, but when you make something interactive it gets way less interactive with mo-cap. So that's one of the things they're working on."
Lowrie - who also voiced the Sniper in Team Fortress 2 and has had roles in other Valve games such as Left 4 Dead and DOTA2 - said he'd heard all this in a recent conversation with a Valve employee, so it should be pretty up to date. "I had a conversation with a Valve employee recently about some of the challenges involved in making an HL3, so I know they're thinking about it, but whether they can solve those challenges or will choose to solve them rather than concentrating on other projects, I just don't know."
"When Gabe said 'we're not talking about HL3′ he was right. The company is not considering it at this time as far as I know. One of the reasons is the mo-cap thing, but there are others as well. I was just trying to give you a little insight on the decision making process."
We're not sure what these "other reasons" entail, but the motion-capture one is an interesting setback for a studio as infamously perfectionist as Valve. It sounds like Half-Life 3 could - and probably will - eventually happen, but it's going to be a loooooong wait.
This begs the question: What do you want to see from Valve in the meantime? Another Left 4 Dead or Portal? More Team Fortress or Counter-Strike? Something new perhaps?