Procreatory suppression device
The Suppression Field's main effects are to bring the human birth rate down to zero by prohibiting the formation of "certain protein chains important to the process of embryonic development", as Dr. Isaac Kleiner states in Episode One, making it utterly impossible for conception to occur in any form. This effectively ensures that the humans currently alive are the last generation. As a result, no children can be found on Earth by the time of Gordon's arrival.
Dr. Breen addresses the issue of the Suppression Field to the people via a broadcast during the early levels of Half-Life 2, as a response to a letter written to him by a "concerned citizen", and claims that the field will be deactivated once the humans prove they no longer need it. He also states that the field is suppressing "the urge to reproduce". However, this is a part of his propaganda grandstanding as it is seemingly contradicted by the fact that Civil Protection are promised "non-mechanical reproductive simulation" as rewards, which they would not be inclined to receive if they had no urges. Furthermore, many references of Citizen and Rebels 'wanting' to mate can be heard. In Half-Life 2: Episode One, a Resistance fighter mocks how since the Suppression Field is down she has permission to mate, saying: "Not that I needed permission anyways".
Marc Laidlaw initially stated that he imagines the Suppression Field "had an effect on a great deal of mammalian life", but later resolved that it "shouldn't" affect other living beings than humans, being a highly specific inhibitor, though the Combine might not have been as selective as they intended.
When in proximity to the abandoned playground, the echoing sounds of children screaming can be heard, an eerie scene alluding to the effects of the Suppression Field.
In Episode One, it is revealed by Kleiner during his hijacked broadcasts throughout the city that with the near destruction of the Citadel, the Suppression Field had been disabled. He suggests that everyone, "should give serious thought to doing their part for the revival of the species", if they have escaped City 17. Alyx comments on the unusual nature of this directive, asking Gordon: "Is Dr. Kleiner really telling everyone to... 'get busy'?".
In Half-Life 2: Episode Two, when Alyx and Gordon reach White Forest and meet Eli, Alyx says she and Freeman make a good team. With a wink and a nod, Eli tells Gordon: "You know with the Suppression Field down, we all have to do our... part". After an embarrassed outburst from Alyx, he says, "Can you blame an old man for wanting grandkids?".
Behind the scenes
Originally, Half-Life 2 was to feature children, effectively disproving the existence of the Suppression Field in early visions of the game's world. They were to be found notably in the Combine Factories, where they would be working on producing Cremators. Additionally, an instance of a child corpse was mentioned in concept art for Ravenholm, and one of the ambient sounds for the location in the final game is named
town_child_scream1. Consistently with the removal of children from Half-Life 2, the length of Gordon's stasis was changed from 10 to 20 years.
Suppression Field is the title of a track featured in Half-Life 2.
List of appearances
- Half-Life 2 (First appearance) (Abstract appearance only)
- Half-Life 2: Episode One (Abstract appearance only)
- Half-Life 2: Episode Two (Abstract appearance only)
- The Overwatch Voice: "Rank leader: reminder: 100 sterilized credits qualifies non-mechanical reproduction simulation"
- Marc Laidlaw on the lack of wildlife in Half-Life 2 (unverified)
- Marc Laidlaw on whether the Suppression Field affects other living beings than humans (February 10, 2014 / November 30, 2014)
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, pages 170 – 171
- WC map pack, Combine Factories maps
- Half-Life 2 game files
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, pages 138 - 139 (June 2, 2000 timelapse opening), 164 - 165 (Now Arriving: City 17)
- Half-Life 2: Episode One: The Story So Far (archived)