The greatest collection of theories from the massive world that is Hλlf-Life and Portal… made by you! Have a theory? Suggest it here! This database won’t grow without your contribution!
Since there are such a large number of theories revolving around the storylines of Portal and Hλlf-Life, why not put them together? All will be in a single space and not spread randomly throughout the Internet.
Please, tell me about any theory you can find! I will add it, in time!
If you would like to contribute to this project even more, feel free to ask to be a contributor of this guide (I won’t give it for nothing though).
The Psyche Theory
Just to start everyone off, I’ll be adding one of the most well-known and popular theories. I give to you the…
The G-Man can influence the mind of however he chooses.
There are two variations of this theory:
- Nothing after the Resonance Cascade ever happened. Gordon Freeman was knocked unconscious in the chamber. Everything that happens afterwards is all made by his mind. This would explain the eerie screaming or crying sounds heard in certain areas of Black Mesa and Xen. Furthering this are the sounds heard near the portal to Nihilanth’s chamber. Lines not heard anywhere else in the game are played here, such as a scientist saying “Get him out of there! Someone, get him out!” Alongside that are lines spoken during the activation of the Anti-Mass Spectrometer from the beginning of the game. This would imply that Gordon is still back in the chamber, with people trying to get him out.
So, what about Half-Life 2 and its Episodes? Gordon is now in a coma and his mind has made a whole new world, and it’s why he meets up with every person he knew in Black Mesa.
Here’s the G-Man’s role in all of this: Gordon saw him once at the beginning of Half-Life, before the Resonance Cascade. As we all know, the brain forms dreams from what we see from day to day to understand them, so his mind placed him in the dream, and, knowing nothing about him, it made the G-Man very mysterious and powerful. He could be a manifestation of Gordon’s mind trying to wake him up, hence the line “So wake up, Mr. Freeman.”
- Similar to the first, this one is about Gordon being unconscious, but for a very different reason.
Gordon is trapped in a simulation created by Aperture Science. The leader of the project: the G-Man.
- As a separate extension to this theory: Everyone that the G-Man “works” with are actually in the experiment. This would include Alyx, Adrian, some minor characters, etc. Though this would have to include Nihilanth, since he was also working for the G-Man, meaning everything had to have been real. This is why the theory only focuses on Gordon.
There is not much evidence for this second variation, only one in fact, but it has a very good source.
During E3 2003, VALVe showed a video called Half-Life 2: Psyche (which is where this theory got its name from). Only about 40 seconds long, it shows many flashing images, most of them being the G-Man with different and distorted lighting. Others include equations, cut NPCs called “Hydras” glowing in the dark, among more. However, the most interesting thing, by far, is an image that says this:
under observation. Galvanic activation with seve
cidence of seizure and muscular catatonia, reco
titration of 30 ml sample, sustained alpha activit
reeman, Gordon: increased activity in neural iso
no response. Subject to availability and urgency
λ unknown vector at this time. Requirements of
eyond current threshold for amgydalic suppressi
ark energy remnants in the simulation until basa
f evaluation despite objections of caretakers give
The edges of this image are cut, which is why the sentences are hard to understand. Another interesting fact to note is that this picture is the only one that appears just once; all the rest appear in a loop and show up again.
If you’d like to see this for yourself, here is the video:
And with that, I wish you good luck! I’m looking forward to how much this might grow!
What is on the Borealis?
Artic: The Aperture ship, the Borealis, sits locked in ice and already infused with Combine technology.
Eli, Alyx and Kliener’s reaction to the reappearance of the lost research vessel speaks volumes of what catastrophic effects the ship could create if it were to fall into the wrong hands.
And Eli was more than convinced that the Borealis could cause a repeat of the Black Mesa incident.
But what kind of technology is on board the ship that could hold such power?
Judging from Judith’s transmission, she personally knows of the Borealis and surely didn’t just stumble upon it, even dubbing it as ‘the project’ which may refer to a mysterious teleportation experiment that Aperture was working on which may have surpassed Black Mesa’s portal tech, but ‘something’ went wrong and caused the ship to vanish along with parts of the dry dock, teleporting it from Upper Michigan to somewhere in the North.
But how exactly could have Judith known about the Borealis? The only likely explanation is that she was a worker at Aperture, which makes sense since Gordon took her place in Black Mesa, so she would have a very high level of knowledge surrounding teleportation. Her transmission does give a lot of meaning to the presence of the ship however.
“I’m fairly sure I’ve pinned down the location of the Project. It’s hard to say how much of it might have survived intact, or whether there’s anything remaining that could compromise our work… if it were discovered by the Combine. We’ll need to take a close look at it, of course, but I should be able to give a better opinion within a few hours. If the site is where we think it is, then it should be no more than… I’m going to cut this short. We may have been spotted.”
Now let’s just analyze this information and try to understand it further:
- “I’m fairly sure I’ve pinned down the location of the Project.”
This hints at the fact that Judith’s expedition to the Borealis was no accident and she was looking for it.
- “It’s hard to say how much of it might have survived intact, or whether there’s anything remaining that could compromise our work… if it were discovered by the Combine.”
This begins to hint at the fact that she specifically knew what happened with the ship in the first place and speaks of the possibility that the technology on board may have survived the teleportation and could be used by whoever finds it.
- “We’ll need to take a close look at it, of course, but I should be able to give a better opinion within a few hours. If the site is where we think it is, then it should be no more than… I’m going to cut this short. We may have been spotted.”
She presumably is talking about how there is still some uncertainty around the ship but if she and her team can analyze it further, she might have a better idea of the ship’s state. Then she starts speaking about presumably the distance it should take to get inside the ship but is abruptly cut off by the attack of Combine forces which suggests the possibility that the Combine will capture her in order to get the information she knows about the Borealis.
But what technology could be on the Borealis? A teleportation device? Multi-verse project? Perhaps it’s not exactly the technology that could spell ‘DOOM’ for mankind but what exactly it can do if it went unstable, much like the anti-mass spectrometer in Black Mesa or even the Lambda Core Teleportation system. Now if you think about it, Aperture and Black Mesa were rivals that were developing teleportation technology, but there is a big difference between how their technology works, Black Mesa could send you from Earth to Xen without any trouble. (There is the issue of energy efficiency and the effect it would leave on the Facility’s power supply. I mean, remember Blue Shift; doors wouldn’t open fast and technology began to explode.) But Aperture focused on sending you from one place to another but within the same dimension. And it was notably more efficient power-wise, but the Borealis must have been a project that focused on sending large objects from one place to another; the Borealis obviously being the candidate for this experiment.
But let’s think about this. Aperture had the capability of sending a gigantic icebreaker from an underground salt mine to somewhere in the Arctic regions. Now let’s think about this crucial fact: the Combine’s teleportation is limited to inter-dimensional travel, once they are teleported to a dimension, they have to get to a specific place within that dimension through their own means of transportation. But it’s also an overlooked fact that the Combine were working on intra-dimensional travel that would allow them to get from point A to point B but within the same dimension. But that was destroyed after the blow at Nova Prospekt. And ever since the Citadel’s dark fusion reactor blew, this separated the ground forces on Earth from the Combine Overworld and left them stranded. But a last ditch effort was made by sacrificing the Citadel to send a signal to the Combine Overworld, and recreate the connection through a Super Portal. But the climax of EP2 has further separated the ground forces from the Combine Overworld, but… now that the Advisors have the information of the Borealis… this could result in a disaster of massive proportions… and judging from the concept art, the Combine have beat us to the ship and are in hot pursuit of it, holding it within smart-barriers and bridges from the sides of the cavern to the ship itself.
Now it’s unknown if the Combine have managed to get the technology inside fully operational, but it’s more than likely that the Borealis will be used, resulting in a second resonance cascade that not only tears a hole between Earth and Xen, it tears portals into all dimensions, even into alternate dimensions which was something that was greatly hinted from the PTI from the Portal 2 DLC. Now, this may sound too ‘portal-like’ for a Half-life game, but think about it. This would have the power to give the Combine a much easier way to conquer species in just a second, and this could go astray, resulting in a portal malfunction from the first Portal game that occurs after the destruction of GLaDOS. What happens if a bunch of alien invaders who are determined to exterminate all of humanity and assimilate all species into their own armies? Poof. Gone. And judging from Portal 2’s ending, this must mean that both humans AND the Combine have vanished.
Written by: gladoscake122
The Enigma of the G-Man
The G-Man remains a mystery.
The man is never called anything in game. We simply know he’s the G-Man by in game code. We also know that in Half-Life 2 the Combine NPCs attack him while the rebels and their allies leave him alone.
Now the name G-Man is exactly what it means. He’s a government man, and his employers he talked about in Half-Life 1 were obviously government people.
Now in the first Half-Life, he gave Gordon Freeman two choices in the trans-dimensional tram in the finale. Gordon obviously chose to work for the G-Man’s employers according to canon. Thereafter, Freeman went into stasis sleep until the events of Half-Life 2.
Most people don’t realize that Freeman agreed to work for the G-Man and the government. He is controlled by them and he’s led by the G-Man (not stalked) throughout the whole series to do what the government wants him to.
Now, Eli confessed that Freeman and him know about the G-Man before. He also knows the G-Man rescued Alyx from Black Mesa.
Eli mentions that Gordon and he know that the G-Man was the one to bring them the crystal that would open the portal in Black Mesa. He forced them to proceed with the experiment even though Eli did not want to.
So why would the government want the G-Man make them use the crystal?
Why would Aperture go to great lengths to use their technology?
Simply to achieve power.
The quest for it is obvious. Now the consequences were great and hence, the government needed to clean their own mess in Black Mesa. So they sent military Spec Ops to dispose of the aliens and the facility staff:
No witnesses; common in most government institutions. They didn’t want anyone knowing that they messed up and that aliens defeated the military forces that were sent to stop them. It would be embarrassing and cause panic in the population.
So, who in the world knows about the G-Man being the one directly at fault of causing the Black Mesa Incident?
Just what Eli had said: Gordon and himself. Gordon works for the government because he was better than the military and did what they couldn’t do.
Then Eli was killed at the end of Episode 2.
Now why Eli of all people?
Because he knows too much!
The “unforeseen consequences” he told Eli through Alyx are obvious.
Eli let the Black Mesa Incident happen and he’s been struggling with that memory ever since. He feels guilty for having let it go wrong and letting the G-Man push him to do it. So it’s not weird that the G-Man would finish the job the military couldn’t.
Kill all witnesses.
He lured the Combine Advisors to that hangar because Eli wanted to stop Gordon and Alyx from using the power of the Borealis against the Combine since it was too dangerous.
When Eli mentions the Borealis, he’s out of breath: scared that there will be another Black Mesa Incident. This time he won’t allow it.
But does the government ignore danger for the chance of power against an enemy?
Yes, because they don’t care.
The G-Man wants Gordon to do what he himself wants to do. And he wants to use the Borealis to defeat the Combine. He led Gordon to White Forest because he needed that rocket to be launched.
The G-Man saved Alyx’s life once and then let Gordon save her.
But Alyx is also his slave: she does what he tells her and wants her to do. She’s crucial (like Freeman) because she found the key to defeat the Combine and disrupts their plans.
She’s as good an asset as Freeman proved to be in Half-Life 1.
The G-Man wants to defeat the Combine. That’s his job, hence why he is attacked by Combine NPCs if you delete certain walls in the game.
The G-Man is stopped by the Vortigaunts that are allied with the Resistance. They wake Gordon up from his stasis in Half-Life 2: Episode 1 and try to restrain him to keep him away from Freeman since they know he’s dangerous.
Again, he does want to defeat the Combine, but at whatever the cost.
Even if Gordon is out of stasis when he’s not supposed to doesn’t matter. He works for the G-Man.
He is a “g-man”
He fulfills the government’s will all the time without even knowing it.
He’s a slave, just like Alyx.
We also know that the Combine already is in the area of the Borealis, as they attacked the rebels there.
Could the Combine literally create another Black Mesa Incident as Eli mentioned?
Another portal in which they can invade the world?
The G-Man wants Gordon and Alyx to use something in the Borealis as a weapon to beat the Combine, but the Combine might also use it to fulfill their own needs. This part remains a mystery.
There are other questions. The G-Man works for his employers, the government that failed to kill all witnesses in Black Mesa, including the soldiers Gordon encounters in Half-Life 1.
But why does a government that might not even still exist want to help humanity?
A humanity that is barely on its feet, almost extinct.
Maybe the government only uses the rebels for their own interest against the Combine, for themselves only?
This is, of course, is another mystery.
The G-man is only an employee, so who’s behind that grim face?
The Zombine and the Horror They Feel
The Zombine, still thinking, still hurting.
Some people are wondering how Zombines are still able to repeat codes and reports even when they have been zombified.
The answer is simple, when a Citizen was zombified, a bit of sound editing showed that they are saying “Help! Dear god help me!”. This sounds like the last thing someone would say as they get a Headcrab on them.
As we know, or can at least assume, the headcrab takes control of the host by biting into the victim’s skull and literally rooting itself into the nervous system. This is shown by how said persons face when de-headcrabbed (while mangled) is still left intact.
It is highly probable that, as the headcrab takes control of the host, it puts most of its energy controlling the motor skills. However, as the headcrab takes control of un-needed systems, such as the vocal system, it will put less effort in trying to control it. Therefore, we can assume that the host is undergoing a very chaotic and rigid nervous system breakdown in which their vocal chords are going out of control. This is shown when Gordon attempts to get through Ravenholm. When hearing a Zombie in the distance, it usually is just mumbling or making random short cries, but when said Zombie finds Gordon, it will begin to shamble at a higher speed, attempting to reach him. This is when the Zombie starts to cry out in agony, showing that more energy is going into controlling the host.
The Citizens reversed speaking is due to the chaotic nervous system, and usually, a human is able to speak out what is most on the mind.
What was the last thing that was on the mind, or spoken, of this zombified citizen before he or she was controlled?
Well, that is obvious at this point.
Now, Overwatch Soldiers are different. Due to their augmented body and wiped mind, they are forced to think in a very protocol, and orderly form. When they’re zombified, the Headcrab has to use even more energy.
Take a look at how a Zombine runs. They seem to struggle, as if they are pulling a weight behind them. This is because the headcrab has to pull the large, bulky, and heavy armor that is on the Soldier, as well as control the Soldier itself. It has to use as much energy as possible to control this large, armored Soldier to even get it moving. This is shown when the Zombine grabs its grenade to hold it up. Notice how it has to stop and hold it, and then it can’t even really run as fast as it used to without it.
The reason the Zombine’s voice isn’t completely garbled is because it once had such a protocol, brainwashed, disciplined way of speaking, that the Headcrab’s nervous system control simply couldn’t reverse it completely. And what is shown in this video below was probably the last thing it was saying as it was being zombified.
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