Warren Spector has revealed that the cancelled Half-Life expansion that he and the team at Junction Point were working on told the story of how Ravenholm became what it was in Half-Life 2. He’s also explained exactly how the magnet gun, the tasty new feature of the expansion, would have worked.
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We’ve known Spector and Junction Point worked on a Half-Life episode since 2015, when Spector talked about it in an interview with Game Informer. Though it was only earlier this year, when ValveTime leaked images of the unfinished game, that we learned it had a segment in Ravenholm. Speaking to PC Gamer in their latest issue, Spector reveals that, in fact, the whole episode was set in Ravenholm and at a time before we visited it in Half-Life 2.
“We wanted to tell the story of how Ravenholm became what it was in the Half-Life universe,” Spector says. “That seemed like an underdeveloped story that fans would really enjoy. In addition to fleshing out the story of Ravenholm, we wanted to see more of Father Grigori and see how he became the character he later became in Half-Life 2.”
ValveTime didn’t just publish images of the maps Junction Point were working on, they also revealed that one of the big additions of the expansion was a magnet gun. Though, there were no hints to exactly how it would work - except for the suggestively explanatory name.
Unlike Half-Life 2’s gravity gun, which let you pull objects to yourself and fire them out at your enemies, Spector explains that the magnet gun let you “fire a sticky magnetic ball at a surface and anything made of metal would be forcibly attracted to it.”
Spector gave a number of examples of how it would work, saying: “You could fire it at a wall across an alley from a metal dumpster and wham! The dumpster would fly across the alley and slam into the wall. You can imagine the effect on anything approaching you in the alley - either squashed or blocked. Or you could be fighting two robots and hit one with a magnet ball and they’d slam together making movement or combat impossible for them. Or you could be trying to get across a high-up open space with an I-beam hanging from a cable in the middle. Stand on the I-beam, fire a magnet ball at the far wall, the beam swings across the gap, walk off it, done.”
Spector admits in the interview that he doesn't know why Valve cancelled the game, Junction Point had been working on it for a year and were just getting comfortable with the Source engine when the news came through. He's not bitter, though, as it allowed him to work on Epic Mickey with Disney.