G-Man? More like CSM, amirite?

Gaps and comes up for air for the first time in three weeks. Blinks owlishly at the sudden bright lights.

Incidentally, if anyone ever asks you: teaching is HARD.

So, obtuse X-files reference aside, this article is indeed about Half-Life’s mysterious be-suited character. At this point–what, somewhere around 3/4ths of the way through are we, now?–and I still don’t know much about him at all. He’s…a…guy, he seems to dress well, he carries a briefcase, and he tends to appear in the oddest places.

Our first encounter with him, of course, was fairly innocent. (Although I’m proud to point out that I was suspicious of him from the start. The X-files HAS taught me well):

(Can I also indulge myself for a moment and point out that my grasp of LPing–from a purely technical perspective–has improved vastly since then. Better mike, figured out how to edit the videos and upload them in decent resolution…man. I’ll have to go back and watch that first set of videos sometime, and marvel at the evolution. In, y’know, my spare time. πŸ˜‰ ).

Since this first appearance, G-Man has shown up in some very…odd…places. Always out of the way and inaccessible. Always watching. And then, like a chump, he runs off as soon as you see him. This may be an odd thing to fixate on about him, given all the rest of the oddness that abounds about him, but the thing that creeps me out the most in relation to G-Man is his walk. Well, maybe not the WAY he walks–pre-motion capture, after all–but the mere fact that he IS walking. Everyone else in the entire facility is either running, cowering, or trying to kill me. G-Man just…watches. And walks. He’s not afraid of the aliens, he’s not concerned about the marines, and he’s certainly not worried about the possibility that I might blow his head off with my shotgun. (I’ve tried, by the way. It doesn’t work. Sigh.)

I’m not going to pontificate too much about his name because–the way I understand it; feel free to correct me if I’m wrong–“G-Man” is more an officially-approved nickname than an ACTUAL name. In the real lore, insofar as I’ve allowed myself to investigate, he technically remains unnamed, at least as far as Gordon is concerned. I’ll still refer to him as G-Man, obviously, since that’s his accepted form of reference, but it IS important that this is not his official, in-game given name. Significant of course because G-man is slang for a government man (usually referring to FBI agents, specifically.) Since the fact that he’s a government agent isn’t official, I feel free to examine other possibilities.

And possibilities they are, because really, all the smart money is on him being exactly what his name implies–a US Government representative, sent to check up on the goings-on of the Black Mesa facility. He’s probably not from any official part of the government of course, and no doubt takes smoke breaks with the X-files’ Cigarette Smoking Man, but he’s probably from the government in one form or another all the same.

Unless he’s from some kind of private corporation, of course. Perhaps Black Mesa isn’t government owned at all. I assume all that based on the vast amount of resources required, and from that fact that it’s fairly convincingly based on the lore of Area 51, but who knows? Maybe the whole shebang is privately owned and operated, and G-man is a representative of the investors. Maybe, in that case, the marines are more private security force that government cover-up. Now, the big hole in this theory is of course that hiding a facility like Black Mesa would be nearly impossible. Maybe, then, its some kind of hybrid of the two? A government facility so expensive that a hand-chosen group of special investors and their money are needed to keep it going? Perhaps.

And yet. And yet two things still bother me, about this explanation for G-Man. The first thing is that I know Marc Laidlaw, and I know his work. And there is no way in HELL that some creepy, reappearing guy like G-man is just some corporate or government flunky. (‘Course, his script was no doubt subject to many revisions and such, and its impossible to tell in a case like this what was purely him, what he was asked to put in, or what he hated.)

The second thing? I told you before: it’s that walk. He walks around the facility like he owns the place. No fear of anyone, human or alien. Is that just because he’s really, really good at disappearing whenever anything notices him? Maybe. But I also submit to you that no human–no SANE human, anyhow–would be wandering around Black Mesa dressed in a nice, natty suit and carrying a briefcase. Adding that to what I know about Mr. Laidlaw, and well…interesting possibilities begin to present themselves.

If G-man is human, he isn’t a normal one. We also know he’s fairly important, and at least sane enough to carry on a conversation with one of the heads of Black Mesa. He’s connected to the scientists in some way, although he apparently doesn’t wish to help or observe them in the aftermath of the crisis. (Or maybe he does; after all, we only see G-man a few times, and who knows WHAT he’s doing when we aren’t looking at him.) Perhaps he has some kind of special protection? Something developed at Black Mesa itself, perhaps? These creatures aren’t new to the Black Mesa scientists, after all; that’s been established. Perhaps they have some kind of repellent or weapon against them that only G-man has. Perhaps it’s even small enough to fit inside a briefcase.

Of course, that wouldn’t explain why he doesn’t fear the marines, unless the marines know him (or at least know not to shoot him.) If they were on the same side though, wouldn’t G-man want to share his magic anti-alien briefcase with them? Unless he’s *playing* them. Perhaps he’s pulling a Dennis Nedry, and trying to smuggle it out of the facility for himself! (On a sidenote, do you have ANY idea how much money I would pay to watch a scene of G-man getting blinded by a bullsquid, and then devoured by headcrabs?) This, or some version of it, is actually the most likely scenario, in my mind. It would explain just about everything: why G-man’s not afraid of aliens, why he’s always skulking about (trying to find his way out and following me–er, Gordon–probably) and why he doesn’t make any efforts to help anyone.

There is ONE other possibility of course, one I only float because Marc Laidlaw is a sick and twisted man (I say that affectionately) who would pull this kind of a thing: G-man could be…something other than human. Don’t ask me what, I have no idea. And a large part of me also thinks that, if the aliens were able to disguise themselves, they would already be doing it. NONE of them seem particularly intelligent, except maybe the Vorts, but even they only have a kind of rudimentary, predatory intelligence. NOTHING like G-man, who can, as we said, hold a conversation and apparently pass for human.

Um. Unless…unless maybe the scientists KNOW he’s not human? They *have* reached that other world before, after all…maybe they found an intelligent representative there? Maybe the “accident” that started the whole mess was his doing, even…a prelude to some kind of invasion?

Oh. Oh Crap.

…Nah. Smart money is on industrial sabotage.

…Still. Laidlaw. And Laidlaw doesn’t rip off other others, and he ESPECIALLY doesn’t need to rip off Michael Crichton.

Oh bugger. Gordon? I think we might be screwed.


24 responses to “G-Man? More like CSM, amirite?

    A most astute analysis, but one thing is bothering me…
    from what I can salvige of the Combine systems I hacked in this network, they sent you a privete message to you thuogh “Youtube”. I’m amazzed you did not mention it seence it relates to this suject.
    “Unkown Etity Alpha” is what they call him in most of thier files, including that message.
    plesse respond.
    ***MESSAGE ENDS***

    About the test’s “malfunction” I’ve run several simulations, and well…
    the Anti-Mass Spectromiter was working perfectly.
    It was the Sample(GG-3883) that cuased this calamity, if it had bin any thing else nothing would have happend.
    The crystal’s internal structure somehow ripped the fabric of time and space when expossed to high end energy waves.
    ***MESSAGE ENDS***

    • Actully the Anti-Mass Spectromiter was running at 25% higher than its safety buffer capacity which is 80% (learn more about that by playing/wathcing HL Decay)

        • Decay was a PS2 exclusive co-op mode included with the PS2 release of Half-Life.
          the only thing of value was the plot, every thing else was… not good at best and… broken at worst.

          • Well, Decay exists on the PC too, it’s a mod for Half-Life. You’d need 2 players to play it and enjoy it though.

  3. You did a good job on analysing G-man you have thought up all the popular theorys on him on your own!
    The ony one you didn’t think up is the the stupid but popular “G(ordon) (Free)man Theory”.
    That’s all we have on him is theorys and verry few facts to bass thim on.
    I personly THINK he is an Ascended: http://stargate.wikia.com/wiki/Ascension
    or Near Ascension: http://stargate.wikia.com/wiki/Near_ascension
    That or he’s just a McGuffin… a verry creepy McGuffin.

  4. I know alot about half-life and i know most if not all of the plot and first things first Black Mesa is a privetly (ignore my spelling) owned facillity and is not a secret,
    the marines which VALVe made up are HECU (Hazerdous, Enviroment, Combat, Unit) marines,
    if you want to know more about the G-MAN and HLs plot without spoilers look up Adrian Shephard’s diary entries,
    the link between Apeture Science and Black Mesa is a big one but all i can tell you is that they where in a “race” and the Black Mesa/Lambda inccident is the product of that race.
    Really good LP by the way.

    • Almost forgot in the 1st Half Life the Vorts where actully called Alien Slaves hope that might clear some things up.

  5. Almost forgot in the first Half Life the Vorts where actully called Alien Slaves hope that clears some things (if this comment has already apeared then sorry it hasent for me)

    • I have heard that before. In fact that’s part of what made me think G-man might be representative of (a heretofor unseen, I guess) alien race trying to invade Earth, or at least to destroy Black Mesa. It would explain why the marines are so trigger happy…killing to cover up a mistake is one thing; killing a few to help preserve the world is something else again.

  6. Now I’m not going to spoil which one of your theorys (?) is right, but… Dang, you hit the nail right on the head. I’m really, really amazzed how you understand so much about the Half-Life series already… πŸ™‚

    • Well, like I said, I know the work of the man who wrote the script for the game pretty well. And none of the guesses I made were THAT strange, given the circumstances of the game. One of the kind of sad things about being a big sci-fi/fantasy fan is that you sometimes end up playing guess-the-trope (as I did for the purposes of this entry) rather than just going with the flow of the story (which I do when I’m playing.) Still, nice to know I’m paying attention to some of the right things!

  7. I believe you’re right about “G-Man” being an out-of-game name, but it’s worth mentioning, perhaps, that the name came from the game itself. That is to say, when the maps and characters were created, each of them was given an internal name which the player would never ordinarily see, and the name that this character got was “gman”. (Well, the actual name is a bit longer but misleading in this case, so I won’t post it for now.)

    The G-Man does, however, play an important part in the game, and in the series itself. (But you probably already guessed that :D)

  8. Actually, the content of G-man’s briefcase has been discovered long ago. I don’t want to spoil so I’ll let you google it if you want to know more.

    Nice LP by the way.

  9. g-man as far as i can figure is not a government offical, but a representitive of someone or somthing else entirely. he seems to be the one who puts gordon into these situations. maybe to make sure things play out correctally for a certain side of a conflict. maybe gordon is like an intergalatic mercenary or somthing?

  10. More like Gay Man πŸ˜€ !!! No I KEED ! I realy like how Valve came up whit such an amazing character πŸ™‚ how he allways desapeers whenever you see him, how he maintains a cool head a doesn’t start running away from the ailiens nad the HECU! AWESOME character

  11. hey hawke its halosammy, did you read my apology for the spoilers i sent you in your early vids including my borderworld comments on your first two xen vids. im goin around apologising for my 2009 spoiler spree. i was new to youtube then and i have gotten better since than and the only things about plot i reveal are things you may have missed. i would love to hear your feedback on the comments i left you though.

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