This subject is related to the Combine era.


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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."

The term Citizen designates any human living under the Combine rule in one of their cities on Earth, as opposed to a Rebel, 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.


Civil Protection conducting an inspection on an apartment block.

After a successful invasion, the Combine began to establish their dictatorship over the Earth, rounding up the remaining population into the still-standing cities, which were re-designated with numbers instead of names (14, 17, etc.). These new "Citizens" of the Combine's empire are provided with accommodation, rations and protection from the alien fauna that infest much of the world. The Combine also erected a reproductive suppression field, to prevent procreation.

The Combine also established the Civil Protection force. Staffed by unmodified humans, as opposed to the transhuman Overwatch, Civil Protection acts as the Combine's police force and handles the affairs of policing and monitoring the populace in the cities. Civil Protection officers are feared for their brutality, as they often bully Citizens and administer beatings at the slightest provocation. As seen in Half-Life 2's first chapter, Point Insertion, Civil Protection officers sometimes stage raids on residential buildings to arrest and imprison alleged rebels and sympathizers. Comments made by Citizen onlookers seem to suggest this is a regular occurrence. Citizens are encouraged to join Civil Protection by promises of better rations, and accommodations. Civil Protection officers themselves are encouraged to undergo trans human surgery to join the ranks of the Overwatch.

In an attempt to prevent tightly knit communities and organizations of any kind from forming, the Civil Protection authorities transfer Citizens from one city to another as many as three times a year.[5] Citizens are also apparently forced to wear identical blue denim boiler suits, and women have their hair cut short.

The penalty for Citizens who choose to disobey the Combine (or are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time) is summary execution, forced conscription into the Overwatch or Stalker transformation, conducted at Nova Prospekt.


Citizens sharing crowded living condition in an apartment block.

Citizens are granted the minimum they need to survive, such as a standardized diet and home, and are subject to frequent transfers from city to city. They live in a constant state of fear and bewilderment, having most of their basic rights removed, such as the right to assemble, grow their own food, and even procreate.[1]

Citizens constantly complain about the quality of their meals,[6] which they get in packages dispensed by machines found in public places, such as the City 17 Trainstation. For drinking, Citizens have access to free water, dispensed through vending machines, among other ways. Some Citizens believe, however, that the Combine put something in the water that wipes memories, suggesting that the Combine use the water itself as yet another method to brainwash Citizens.[7] Civil Protection officers are given far better meals, which becomes yet another incentive for the Citizens to become one.

Citizens are assigned to simple flats in apartment buildings which are all categorized into blocks. They are kept under constant surveillance by Civil Protection officers through the medium of City Scanners and Security Cameras. Raids and arrests are frequent occurrences throughout the apartments.

Most Citizens live in rather poor living conditions. In the apartment block in Point Insertion it can be observed that most apartments lack doors (from the constant CP raids), are littered with old furniture and debris, and are just generally dirty and cramped living quarters. Most homes have a small, re-purposed television set, which is constantly tuned into Wallace Breen's Breencasts.

Citizens are able to apply to be part of Civil Protection. Those who do have generally better lives, and work on shifts patrolling areas all around the city where they then take place in raids and crackdowns or just beat up and arrest other Citizens for many different reasons, or even without any reason at all. These Citizens are generally hated by non-civil officers, because these Citizens choose to be a part of the Combine, beating and arresting Citizens at their own discretion, rather than their Combine Overwatch Soldier and Elite counter-parts, who under gone "memory replacement" and are much less human in nature.

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 the 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.[8][9]

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.[10] 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]



Combine OverWiki has a list of quotes for Citizen.
Combine OverWiki has more images related to Citizen.
  1. 1.0 1.1 Half-Life 2 Prima Guide, page 31
  2. Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, page 132
  3. 3.0 3.1 Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, page 131
  4. Li icon.png Citizen on LinkedIn
  5. "This is my third transfer this year" -Citizen remark, Point Insertion, Half-Life 2
  6. "You have to be damn hungry to wait in line for this crap" -Citizen remark, Point Insertion, Half-Life 2
  7. "Don't drink the water. They put something in it... to make you forget. I don't even remember how I got here" -Citizen remark, Point Insertion, Half-Life 2
  8. Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, page 123
  9. Half-Life 2 files
  10. Half-Life 2 leak