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Why Dr. Breen Was Actually Right In Half-Life 2

As far as game villains go, Dr. Wallace Breen from the Half-Life series (seen mostly in Half-Life 2) is a relatively unrelenting yet realistic one — he's not a comic-book caricature or evil personified. He's just a regular-looking dude trying to save Earth from total annihilation in a rational, if misguided, way. Basically, Breen believes that humanity's progress into the stars can only be made through collaboration and that human resistance to the Combine is futile — "an insistence on suicide," as he calls it. This alien alliance is too powerful, and humanity is too fragmented and technologically inferior to defeat them. Unfortunately, he's worked himself into a position of power that allows him to rule the enslaved population with violent, horrific methods that make him an antagonist to be reckoned with. 


Dr. Breen's probably dead. Last we saw him, the Administrator tried to flee the Resistance in a Combine teleport when the player, as Freeman, destroys the Citadel's dark fusion reactor and then the teleport along with it. But his presence remains, through flashbacks, dreams, and propaganda. And, what's more, Dr. Breen turns out to have been right. Here's how.

Dr. Breen knew the truth

The departure of writer Marc Laidlaw from developer Valve in 2016 seemed to shut the door on the possibility, but there's hope that Half-Life 3 is on the way. However, it may not look the same as Laidlaw's vision of what the next chapter would have been.


Conveniently, Laidlaw put out a fan-fiction missive in 2017 that is a thinly veiled reference to his potential version of Half-Life 3's plot. If you change the remarkably similar names to the Half-Life characters they resemble, you'll learn that the Combine saved a backup of Dr. Breen's consciousness into a grub. In Laidlaw's story, he begs Freeman and friends to kill him.

Freeman then launches a last-ditch attack on the Combine. Laidlaw writes, "The vastness of the [Combine's] power, the futility of our struggle, blossomed briefly in my awareness. I saw everything. Mainly I saw how the [Borealis], our most powerful weapon, would register as less than a fizzling matchhead as it blew itself apart. And what remained of me would be even less than that." 


Dr. Breen, who negotiated the surrender of humans because he thought humanity wasn't advanced enough to defeat the Combine? He was right.