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Return to Ravenholm, also known as Ravenholm or Half-Life 2: Episode Four, were the working titles of a cancelled Half-Life 2 Episode developed by Arkane Studios from 2006 to 2007. Set in the zombie-infested European town of Ravenholm, it was to take place sometime before the end of Half-Life 2: Episode Two.
- In a May 2006 PC Gamer interview with Gabe Newell concerning the future of the Half-Life series, it is stated that an Episode Four, to be released after the conclusion of the Half-Life 2 Episodic trilogy, is planned. Gabe states that it is to be developed outside of Valve, with a stand-alone plotline.
- In December 2007, Doug Lombardi states that Episode Three will only represent the conclusion of the current Half-Life story arc. It will not be the end of the greater Half-Life franchise, nor the end of the Half-Life Episodic series, with even more episodic games unconnected to the current story arc to be made. This relates to the Episode Four mentioned in 2006.
- In December 2007 as well, Gabe Newell states in an interview that Valve would like to expand on many elements of the original story that had only been referenced in previous games. In particular, he brings up the possibility of developing games about Alyx Vance or Dog.
- In March 2011, Electronic Arts concept artist and 3D modeler Randy Humphries posts in his (now deleted) Coroflot profile 6 pieces of concept art, for what appears to be a cancelled Half-Life project, with no further context or explication (one showing a canal, one showing railway tracks along a canal (with a "Born"-like poster and in the end a Force Field), one showing an apartment building interior, one showing a town called "Haven", one showing what may be a Metrocop with Stun Baton, and another showing what seems to be an Overwatch Soldier, these last two Combine designs being very different from the current ones). Though it has not been confirmed, these designs may have been created for the cancelled Episode Four mentioned in 2006.
- Following the network intrusion of Eidos' servers in May 2011, and the subsequent data leak, community members report that among the leaked CVs are several CVs of industry developers who appear to have worked on an Arkane/Valve project built on the Source engine from 2006 to 2007. In some CVs, the project goes unnamed, but in others it appears to be titled "Half-Life 2: Episode 4", "Ravenholm" or "Return to Ravenholm". (the people include Sébastien Gaillard, Nims Bun, Florent Perrin or Régis Capotosto.) Most of the CVs have since been edited to remove any mention of the project or Valve.
- On January 13, 2012, Marc Laidlaw confirms to LambdaGeneration that a fourth and now cancelled Half-Life 2 Episode, titled Return to Ravenholm, was being developed by Arkane Studios from 2006 to 2007. He states that as big fans of Arkane and their work, Valve wanted to come up with a common project that both studios could work on. Valve threw ideas around, and Arkane built "some cool stuff", but Valve eventually decided that it didn't make sense to pursue Return to Ravenholm at the time. They felt like a lot of the staples of Ravenholm (Headcrabs and Zombies) were pretty much played out, and the fact that it would have to take place sometime before the end of Episode Two (so as not to advance beyond where Valve had pushed the story) represented a creative constraint that would hamper the project, as well as Arkane themselves. Episode Four and Return to Ravenholm are also confirmed by Laidlaw to be the same thing.
- On January 11, 2013, four screenshots of Return to Ravenholm are uncovered.
Concept art by Randy Humphries, made for an undetermined project.
Railway tracks concept art.
Civil Protection concept art.
Overwatch Soldier concept art.
Return to Ravenholm screenshots, by Arkane Studios.
Under a ruined roof outside the hospital.