This subject is related to the Combine era.


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This subject is related to the Combine era.

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,[5] 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 their 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, such as the freedom of assembly. In public spaces, they are prohibited from engaging in loud conversations with each other,[6] and their property is routinely confiscated.[7] 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. Moreover, the Combine implemented a worldwide reproductive suppression field early in their occupation, utilizing the Citadel reactor. This field hinders procreation, ensuring a linear population decline and eventual extinction of the human species.

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.[8] 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 before the events of Half-Life 2, Citizens displayed a more diverse range of clothing. During that time, they sported an assortment of colored jackets, baseball caps, and other casual apparel not directly supplied by the Combine.

Living conditions[edit]

Citizens sharing crowded living conditions in a tenement building.

The living conditions for the Citizens are consistently bleak, having been confined to modest flats within tenement buildings grouped and categorized as "residential blocks." [9] 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.

Despite their ability to roam through the streets, their movement within urban centers is heavily restricted by towering walls and other barriers, such as checkpoints equipped with Cameras and Forcefields, requiring them to present their identification to pass through them visibly.

Citizens are granted the bare essentials required for survival, encompassing standardized food. These meals, distributed by dispensery machines found in public areas like City 17 Trainstation, often become a subject of common complaints.[10] Additionally; the Combine provides their citizenry with other synthetic food such as gelatinated calorie paste, desiccated sustenance bars; and even bread.[11] As a result of constant shortage conditions; many Citizens, particularly Refugees, have resorted to scavenging for their food, relying on old canned goods as well as harvesting from organic sources. Additionally, water is freely available through running faucets and 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.[12]

At least five years before the events of Half-Life 2, Citizens were allowed to have pets, particularly Cats. These Cats were commonly seen freely roaming the streets and sheltering in apartment buildings. An interesting detail is a "Missing Cat" notice posted by a Citizen named Sarah, who was searching for her cat Beatrice. Another Citizen's handwritten comment on the notice suggested that Sarah's concern might be more relevant to the increasing number of missing people. Additionally, the distant barking of Dogs can be heard, though it remained unclear whether these Dogs are owned or potentially strays, as they were never visually confirmed.

Work opportunites and employment[edit]

Main article: Combine Worker
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 a "workforce intake hub." [9] This emphasizes the predominant perception of Citizens as a mere labor force within their regime. The Overwatch Voice also mentions a code violation for Citizens who excessively loiter from place to place instead of engaging in work assignments.[13] Furthermore, a sign at Gate 5 mentions Combine-affiliated industrial identification required to pass, suggesting the presence of an industrial workforce branch within the Combine.[14]

Consequently, Citizens are generally coaxed to participate in various work assignments, whether forcibly conscripted or voluntarily joining Combine-affiliated organizations such as Civil Protection. Voluntarily opting for these roles provides them with several benefits, including access to superior meals,[15] improved living conditions, and the promise of the preservation of their "family cohesion."[16] 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 dangerous employment for example; hazardous duties, such as combating the growth of the Xen infestation in the Quarantine Zone.


Civil Protection loads Citizens into a transport.

Citizens are transported from place to place through various methods. One notable mode is the passenger train, a significant system facilitated by Civil Protection to strategically prevent the formation of close-knit communities. This method transfers Citizens between cities, with individuals needing a "relocation coupon" to authorize the process.[17] Throughout City 17, the abundance of abandoned and derelict automobiles, remnants of an earlier era, hints at a time when Citizens relied on this mode of transport. It remains unclear whether these vehicles were used after the Seven Hour War but subsequently fell into disrepair, or if the Combine prohibited their use from the outset of their occupation.

In Half-Life: Alyx, Citizens are seen riding bicycles through city streets, indicating a more liberated mobility. Concurrently, the Combine utilizes prisoner transport trucks to move apprehended Citizens marked as insubordinate to a location referred to as "criminal holding." This relocation likely precedes their transfer via the Razor Train to Nova Prospekt if they meet specific criteria, such as being an important Resistance figure like Eli Vance.[18]

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 who 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]

  • 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.[19][20]
  • 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.[21] 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. 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. Overwatch Voice: "dissociation from the civic populace" Half-Life 2 (Overwatch Voice Quotes)
  6. Citizen: "If I talk to you out here, we'll both be in trouble." Half-Life 2 (Citizen - City 17 Quotes)
  7. Citizen: "I see they took your suitcase too! They can't get away with this much longer." Half-Life 2 (Citizen - City 17 Quotes)
  8. References:Marc Laidlaw emails/Unverified On Citizen clothing
  9. 9.0 9.1 Half-Life 2 game files, "V_G1_LOCATION_MAP" in sentences.txt
  10. Citizen: "You gotta be damn hungry to wait in line for this crap." Half-Life 2 (Citizen - City 17 Quotes)
  11. Russell: "Right. Well, to make a club sandwich, you needed to start with bread. Not from a breadline, from a bakery." Half-Life: Alyx (Russell Quotes)
  12. Citizen: "Don't drink the water. They put something in it to make you forget. I don't even remember how I got here." Half-Life 2 (Citizen - City 17 Quotes)
  13. Overwatch Voice: "647e disengaged from workforce" Half-Life 2 (Overwatch Voice Quotes)
  14. Gate 5 station
  15. Citizen: "I don't know about you, but I'm ready to join Civil Protection just to get a decent meal." Half-Life 2 (Citizen - City 17 Quotes)
  16. Overwatch Voice: "Reward notice: Protection Team member: your family cohesion is preserved." Half-Life 2 (Overwatch Voice Quotes)
  17. Citizen: "This must be a mistake. I got a standard relocation coupon, just like everybody else." Half-Life 2 (Citizen - City 17 Quotes)
  18. Russell: "Criminal holding. And then, when they realize he's Eli Vance… to Nova Prospekt." Half-Life: Alyx (Russell Quotes)
  19. Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, page 123
  20. Half-Life 2 files
  21. Half-Life 2 leak