It's that time of year again, folks: when we all get excited about Half-Life 3, grasp at straws, then have our hopes crushed for another few months.
Hang on, though. With the Steam Machines now out in the open, could Valve finally be gearing up to deploy their anticipated sequel? Two interesting developments suggest that they might be.
First up: the usually-trustworthy Gematsu reports that Reddit users managed to access Valve’s User Picker: a piece of internal software that they use to manage their development teams. It has categories for "Half-Life 3” and "Half-Life 3 Core." So, yeah.
Secondly, it appears that Valve have filed a European trademark for Half-Life 3 (search for #012180394). This could well just be a defensive measure, of course, but the timing is certainly very interesting indeed. [via NeoGAF, thanks to a tip from Late]
Could Half-Life 3 seal the deal for the Steam Machines? We don't know if it would be an appropriate exclusive, but a beta or early access on Valve's new OS and hardware could work wonders. We'll have to -- as always -- wait and see.