A European trademark registration for Half-Life 3, taken as confirmation that Valve is planning to to release the long-awaited title Real Soon Now, has been removed from the register - which some are taking as evidence it was a fake all along.
The registration with the European Office for Harmonisation in the Internet Market was made on the 29th of September, and spotted earlier this month
. More digging unveiled registration for Portal 3, suggesting that Valve was planning its launches for both titles - something fans, who have been clamouring for a continuation of the storyline
, welcomed with unalloyed joy.
Sadly, there appears to be a hiccough: suspicions were raised as to the veracity of the application when it was noted that Valve has made no similar application in its home market, while the company - as is usual - remained entirely silent on the matter. Now, however, evidence suggests that the suspicions were true and the registration a forgery: the entries for both Half-Life 3 and Portal 3 have disappeared.
According to fan-blog Valve Time
, the registrations were removed from the Trademarks and Design Registration Office of the European Union after being listed for little over a week - leading to the conclusion that the registration was a hoax sent live on the site without proper verification.
Before becoming too despondent, there may be a glimmer of hope on the horizon: late last week an internal project management database was leaked, as reported on PC Gamer
, offering details on Valve staff and the projects they are currently contributing to - with several claiming to be working on Half-Life 3, and more on Left 4 Dead 3. None, however, are listed as working on Portal 3 - suggesting, again, that the trademark registrations were fakes.
Valve, as you might expect, has refused to comment at all stages.