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Valve has filed for a trademark on Half Life 3 in Europe, which ironically is the very first evidence that the company could indeed be working on the long-awaited installment.

The trademark was filed on September 29, and lists Valve as its owner, among other standard information such as classification, address of the owner, etc.

The original Half Life, a first-person shooter, released back in 1998, took the industry by storm with its intelligent, story-driven gameplay, solid A.I. and an impeccable sense of place that was unlike anything at the time. Valve continued to innovate with the franchise, pioneering physics-based gameplay and personality-driven characters with the 2004 release of Half Life 2. At the time, Valve committed itself to release an episodic trilogy to the series, but only delivered two in three years, after which work on the series became dormant.

Since then, Valve has released a number of titles such as Left 4 Dead 1 & 2, Portal 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Dota 2. Valve also recently announced its own gaming platform based on Steam, complete with a free open-source operating system in SteamOS, ready-made PCs called Steam Machines, and a wacky, futuristic Steam Controller.

While Valve never officially confirmed development of Half Life 3, the game has seen the end of countless rumors over the past decade, and has sort of become a running joke among fans. In 2012, a French website carried a report stating that the game could possibly feature an open-world setting with quests and non-playable characters – a stark departure from the previous installments in the series.

While a trademark filing hardly counts as anything concrete, the recent rumblings at Valve could suggest the company may finally be ready to end its silence.

Rise and shine.

Thanks, NeoGAF.

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