|This article is non-canon.|
The subject matter of this article does not take place in the "real" Half-Life and Portal universe and is considered non-canon.
- "I, eh, hope you like Leeches."
- ― The Fisherman[src]
Half-Life 2: Lost Coast
The Fisherman is met after the player wakes up at the foot of a cliff and walks along a short stretch of beach to reach a small pier. He recognizes Gordon Freeman (though he does not recall his name, referring to him as the "scientist chap", "Fishman", and "Friedman") and asks him to destroy a Combine Headcrab Shell launcher attacking the nearby town of St. Olga. He unlocks the gate for Gordon and waits for his success on a bench with his harpoon for most of the remainder of the level.
When Gordon destroys the Hunter-Chopper before the end of the level, the Fisherman stands calmly as he watches it crash into the nearby ocean. He then congratulates Gordon on his return and tells him that there will be a feast (made up of Leeches) in St. Olga. He then gets confused briefly as Gordon begins to disappear, telling him that he is getting "fuzzy around the edges", bidding him a fond farewell despite the odd departure.
Personality and skills
It is unknown if the Fisherman is a member of the Resistance; the Combine troops above do not seem to be preoccupied by him. The Fisherman exhibits a great defensiveness of what remains of Earth's original species. His comments on this animal life gives the player more insight on the effects of Xen lifeforms and the Combine on the planet's ecosystem. If the player grabs a crab pot with the Gravity Gun, he remarks that most of the crabs have been eaten by Leeches. If the player shoots a seagull, the Fisherman will reprehend him, saying "Hey, now! We've lost enough species already!", "What'd that gull ever do to you?", or "Don't shoot the gulls! They keep down the leech population!". Finally, at the end of the level, he implies that Leeches are used as a food source for humans.
Behind the scenes
The Fisherman is Valve's first character model designed and built entirely from scratch without a photo reference, using the exact same production pipeline as all the other props in the game's world. In the game's commentary, Randy Lundeen stated that the Fisherman was created using a similar process to the rocks seen in the nearby beach environment. His model was built at a very high detail, then the team extracted much of the physical information and stored it into the textures. His face was mostly designed to focus on showcasing High Dynamic Range Lighting and the way light falls on human skin, with an emphasis on specularity for his forehead and nose and normal maps for the wrinkles on his cheeks and around his eyes to add depth to his face.
The Fisherman was originally to play a larger role in the game. According to Robin Walker, he was to cooperate with the player to solve a puzzle related to the shipwreck on the beach; it was to be the first such sequence of its kind in the series. It was cut as, by the end of the project's development, the puzzle still hadn't been completed, and the team wasn't sure whether it would be worthwhile to keep developing it given its dubious fun factor for the players. They eventually decided "it made the most sense to put this problem on the shelf with other interesting ideas, and come back to it later."
On March 24, 2017, the original map files for the Half-Life 2 episodes were publically leaked, among these were maps related to the development of Lost Coast. One version featured a longer introduction in which the Fisherman escorts the player through the beach. It also includes entities related to the cut puzzle sequence. It was apparently to involve raising a hatch blocking the way by pulling two roped hooks and fastening them onto a larger one. To accomplish his part of the job, the Fisherman was to use his harpoon. Unused sound files related to this longer introduction walk to the gate can still be found in the retail Lost Coast files. Additionally, the closed captions file includes more cut sentences that originally were to be spoken by the Fisherman, one of them mentioning the act of trapping a Bullsquid using the hatch.