Once upon a time, this was real and it existed.
Before Half Life 2: Episode 3 became the legendary Half Life 2: Episode 3 (the one we are still waiting on to this day…), there was an Episode 3 in development at Valve, by Junction Point Studios, in late 2005. Presumably, somewhere along the road, plans were changed- but at the time, this was the Episode 3 in development.
And now, a new leak shows off what appears to be a new map from this version of Episode 3, which obviously never came to be. The leak comes courtesy of the Valve Time forums (via NeoGAF), and takes place in a snow-themed version of Ravenholm. The map has small puzzles, scripted sequences, and fights- you can check out some screenshots below.
With the likelihood of a Half Life 2: Episode 3, or a Half Life 3 now lower than ever before, this leak – which in normal circumstances would just be a look at a the scrapped plans for a major title – gains more significance. We don’t know if we will ever get to play Episode 3 or Half Life 3– but we do know that it very tangibly did exist once. For many fans, maybe that will be enough.