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Return to Ravenholm

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The subject matter of this article contains in-development information that was cut from the final version of an official and/or canonical source and appears in no other canonical source. It may also contain incomplete information since not all cut material is publicly known.

Return to Ravenholm

Arkane Studios
Valve Corporation

Release date(s)



First-person shooter





Return to Ravenholm, also known as Ravenholm or Half-Life 2: Episode Four, was the working title 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.[1]

Timeline of released information[edit]

  • In the May 2006 issue of PC Gamer USA (Issue 148), there is an interview with Gabe Newell concerning the future of the Half-Life series, it is revealed that an Episode Four is planned to be released after the conclusion of the Half-Life 2 episodic trilogy. Gabe states that it is to be developed outside of Valve with a stand-alone plotline.[2]
  • In December of 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.[3] This relates to the Episode Four mentioned in 2006.
  • That same month, 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.[4]
  • 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". These individuals include Sébastien Gaillard, Nims Bun, Florent Perrin, and Régis Capotosto.[5][6] 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 game.[1]
  • On January 11, 2013, four screenshots of Return to Ravenholm are uncovered.[7]
  • On June 3, 2013, several model renders of assets intended for the game are discovered, many reinforcing the idea of a hospital location.[8]
  • On December 5, 2015, eleven additional screenshots from the project were revealed from the portfolio of Robert Wilinski, a Senior Environment Artist at Arkane between 2007 and 2008. The environment on display here depicts a dilapidated underground area with elements suggesting a relation to the previously seen hospital.[9]



Model renders[edit]

See also[edit]