Of course, the Half-Life loving internet masses have wasted little time in dissecting the letter, and in one particular Reddit thread, users bring forth all sorts of possibilities and theories about the letter itself.
It has been nearly a decade since Valve released Half-Life 2: Episode Two, and the gaming masses have since waited to see if the company will ever resolve the cliffhanger ending with a sequel. This last has in particular worked on Half Life 1, Half-Life 2 and the two suites episodic of this second opus. "I can hear your complaint already, 'Gertrude Fremont, we have not heard from you in ages!' Well, if you care to hear excuses, I have plenty, the greatest of them being I've been in other dimensions and whatnot, unable to reach you by the usual means".
An edited version of the synopsis on Pastebin-which is now the only place to read it given the unwashed massed of the Internet have taken down Laidlaw's blog-has already replaced and the names places ready for reading.
"This was the case until 18 months ago, when I experienced a critical change in my circumstances, and was redeposited on these shores". When someone pointed out that it hardly seemed like a "fanfic" as Laidlaw wrote the story for the previous Half-Life games, the writer, who resigned from Half-Life developer Valve in 2016, reasserted: "At this point I'm operating strictly in a fan capacity". In the time since, I have been able to think occasionally about how best to describe the intervening years, my years of silence.
News broke shortly after Laidlaw posted a blog post called "Epistle 3" on Thursday. This forms the basis of Laidlaw's current deflection, which is that it's "a genderswapped snapshot of a dream I had many years ago". Unfortunately, that means Half-Life 3 will never see the light of day. Valve was never shy about revamping aspects of a game's plot to make it flow better; Tem Fortress 2 was originally a realistic (as realistic as you can get in the early 2000s, anyway) game with standard military gear and uniforms.
Laidlaw has changed up a few of the names, presumably to protect himself for Valve's legal team.
In an answer to a fan, Laidlaw even refuses to go into more detail about a specific couple of characters, saying "that is something Valve might still want to develop, flesh out and explain someday".