This subject is related to the Combine era.


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Citizens infobox.jpg
Biographical information


Function(s) / Belongings
Physical description




Chronological and political information

Combine occupation

Game information
Voiced by


Voice sample(s)



"I can't remember the last time I had, well, anything."

Citizens, collectively referred to as the Civic Populace by the Overwatch Voice, are any humans living under the Combine rule in one of their controlled urban centers on Earth. As opposed to a Rebel or Refugee, who defected from the Combine rule to join the Resistance, and except those who chose to join the Combine. The status was established after the Seven Hour War and the subsequent Combine occupation. Citizens are introduced in Half-Life 2's first chapter, Point Insertion.


Following a successful invasion, the Combine established their totalitarian rule over Earth, relocating the remaining human population to numbered cities devoid of their original names (e.g., 14, 17). Referred to as "Citizens" within the Combine's occupation, they are systematically suppressed to prevent any interference with the Combine's overarching objectives.

Stringent laws and constant surveillance, result in the stripping away of most of their fundamental rights, including the freedom to assemble, grow food, and have families. In public spaces, they are prohibited from engaging in loud conversations with each other, and their property is routinely confiscated. Disobedience or being in the wrong place at the wrong time can result in severe consequences, ranging from summary execution to forced transformation into Combine Soldiers or Stalkers at Nova Prospekt. Furthermore, the Combine have also erected a global reproductive suppression field through the Citadel reactor, preventing any and all procreation.

Physical appearances[edit]

Citizens collectively form a diverse range of backgrounds and ethnicities, having been relocated from various corners of the world. Most can be seen wearing a standardized and utilitarian outfit provided by the Combine. This attire usually consists of a buttoned-up shirt in either blue or beige, adorned with two white identification patches—one above the right breast and the other at the back below the neck—paired with blue jeans. These practical and unembellished uniforms epitomize the lack of individuality and personal expression permitted under the Combine's rule. However, it is worth noting that five years prior to the events of Half-Life 2, Citizens displayed a more diverse and individualistic fashion sense. During that time, they sported an assortment of colored jackets, baseball caps, and other casual apparel, highlighting a greater range of clothing styles.

Living conditions[edit]

Citizens sharing crowded living condition in an apartment block.

The living conditions for the Citizens are consistently bleak, having been confined to modest flats within categorized apartment buildings labelled as "residential blocks." Inside their living quarters, old furniture and debris accumulate, leading to cramped and unsanitary spaces, often lacking doors due to the frequent Civil Protection raids. Adding to the pervasive atmosphere, small repurposed television sets constantly broadcast Wallace Breen's programs, an ever-present reminder of their oppressive reality.

To prevent the formation of close-knit communities and organizations, the Civil Protection authorities tasked with suppressing Citizens frequently transfer them between cities by way of train as much as three times a year. Their movement within urban centers is heavily restricted by towering walls and other barriers, such as checkpoints equipped with Cameras and Forcefields, requiring Citizens to visibly present their identification in order to pass through them.

Citizens are granted the bare essentials required for survival, which encompass standardized food. These meals, distributed by machines found in public areas like City 17 Trainstation, often become a subject of common complaints. Additionally; the Combine provides their citizenry with other synthetic food such as gelatinated calorie paste, desiccated sustenance bars; and even breadlines mentioned by Russell. As a result of constant shortage conditions; several Citizens, particularly Refugees, have resorted to scavenging for their own food, relying on old canned goods as well as harvesting from organic sources. Additionally, water is freely available through vending machines, but some Citizens harbor suspicions that the Combine may have tampered with it to facilitate memory erasure as part of their brainwashing efforts.

Work Opportunites and Employment[edit]

A Combine Worker welds a Combine mini-reactor.

The City 17 Trainstation provides a firm insight into the Combine's utilization of Citizens, as both the Civil Protection and the Overwatch Voice designate it as the "workforce intake hub." This emphasizes the predominant perception of Citizens as a mere labor force within their regime. Consequently, Citizens are generally coaxed to participate in a variety of work assignments, whether forcibly conscripted or voluntarily joining Combine-affiliated organizations such as Civil Protection. Voluntarily opting for these roles entices them with several benefits, including access to superior meals, improved living conditions, and the promise of preserving their families. Within these responsibilities, Combine Workers can be observed atop Construction Striders, diligently engaging in a variety of works; such as connecting cables and equipment to power sources and Combine reactors, while others take on more perilous employment for example; hazardous duties, such as combating the growth of the Xen infestation in the Quarantine Zone.

The Resistance[edit]

Main article: Resistance

Among the oppressed inhabitants of City 17, there is a significant underground movement; even Citizens who are not actively involved in the resistance are usually sympathetic. As survivors' accounts of Gordon Freeman's heroic feats during the Black Mesa Incident reached a wider audience, Freeman came to be considered a legendary figure in the minds of many people, being one of the few that fought both the Xen aliens and the military and survived.

In the cities, the Resistance operates underground networks (such as the Underground Railroad in City 17) to escape the attention of Civil Protection. Citizens seeking to escape the oppressive atmosphere in the cities use these networks to escape and join the Resistance forces.

After Gordon Freeman's return and subsequent feats against the Combine, which eventually culminated in his leading a swarm of Antlions into Nova Prospekt and destroying it, an all-out rebellion sparked in City 17 in which many Citizens joined the Resistance and formed armed militias, dramatically boosting the Resistance numbers.

Related Achievements[edit]

Half-Life 2: Episode One
Citizen Escort.jpg Citizen Escort (15G)
Don't let any citizens die when escorting them to the escape train.

Behind the scenes[edit]

This section is in the middle of an expansion or major revamping.

While there is only one female and male outfit texture, the heads, ethnicity-related hand colors and model build sometimes differ from a model to another.

Nine male Citizen models exist, while the females count only six. As seen in the Citizen face texture files in the Half-Life 2 leak, there were originally nine women as well, and a tenth man also existed.

Most people used as character models for Half-Life 2 come from the Seattle area, and include actual models, actors/actresses, people picked on the street, people working in the area, Valve employees, friends or relatives of Valve employees, etc. Most Citizen face textures are nicknamed after these people.[5][6]

All reference model images featured in Raising the Bar are the actual pictures used for the face textures. For instance, parts of Daniel Dociu's black and white striped shirt can still be found in Father Grigori's textures.

While all the Citizens have the same brown eyes, several reference models have differently colored eyes, such as blue (such as Ted Backman or Erdin Grcic) or green (such as Joey Paresa).

Friendly fire was originally possible on Citizens and Vortigaunts, like the Black Mesa personnel in Half-Life.[7] The feature can be experienced in the Half-Life 2 leak, where Citizens will answer sentences such as "Freeman! We're on your side!", "Watch what you're doing!", "We trusted you!". The sound files, though unused, are still present in the retail Half-Life 2 files.

"We wanted to have citizens lead the player somewhere, so we set it up so they would tell the player where to go, then set off ahead. If the player fell behind, the citizen was supposed to turn around and remind the player by calling out, ‘Lets [sic] go!’ The first time we playtested, we had a bug where the leading citizen was a little overzealous in his desire to lead the player, and repeatedly called out, ‘Let’s go!’ over and over again whenever the player wasn’t right behind them. The playtester kept saying ‘I know! All right! I’m coming! Jeez!’, while behind him we were all trying unsuccessfully to stifle our laughter. From then on, it was a common occurrence around the office to hear someone repeatedly yelling, ‘Let’s go!’ when waiting for someone."
― Adrian Finol[src]

In the Episode Two sound files included in a leaked build of the game Postal III, several male rebel lines voiced by Earl Alexander, best known as the voice of Louis in the Left 4 Dead series, are present. These were cut from the final release, excluding his performance from the game entirely.


Half-Life 2[edit]

Half-Life: Alyx[edit]

List of appearances[edit]

Main games[edit]



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