Two years ago, game documentary channel Noclip produced a fascinating look at Ravenholm, a canceled Half-Life spin-off that was in development at Arkane before the studio made Dishonored. That documentary included some footage of the canceled game along with interviews with multiple developers at Arkane. Today Noclip has published a much longer look at Ravenholm: the full hour of footage it captured in 2020.
Watch the documentary if you want to know Ravenholm's story—but if you just want to see a big slice of an unfinished game, this new video is a treat.
It's rare to get such an extended look at a canceled game, much less one with the cachet of Arkane or Half-Life. Arkane and Half-Life? That's quite a combination. The demo opens in the kitchen of Father Grigori, who you may remember from the Ravenholm stretch of Half-Life 2. From there it shows some punchy melee combat physics with zombies, a cool improvised windmill that was a leftover unused asset from Half-Life 2, and what was going to be a major game mechanic: solving puzzles with electricity.
Throughout the hour-long video Noclip's Danny O'Dwyer pops in for a brief introduction or bit of context, but there's no commentary over the clips themselves: just a whole lot of Half-Life that's never seen the light of day until now.
Ravenholm was not Half-Life 2: Episode 3, but it was in development during the time many players expected a continuation of Half-Life 2's story. It was going to star a separate character. Deus Ex creator Warren Spector's studio Junction Point was working on another Half-Life episode around the same time that was likewise canceled.