By James Paladino ( | First Posted: Sep 20, 2012 06:25 PM EDT

We may yet see Gordan Freeman in 2014 (Photo : Valve)

It has been almost five years since Valve gave gamers the chance to fill Gordon Freeman's shoes in Half-Life 2: Episode 2. Since then, anticipation has been white hot for any news about the next planned installment, Episode 3, which was supposed to be released within a few months of its predecessor, but has yet to see the light of day. However, there is hope that the project is finally coming together for a post-2013 launch according to  a recent leak.

Today, IGN reported that a "trusted source" told French gaming site journaldugamer that Half-Life 3 will take the franchise's gameplay in an entirely new direction.

Jounaldugamer writes, "The person close to Valve has confirmed that the development of Half-Life 3 is well under way, although much work remains. According to her, Half-Life 3 will always be very action-oriented, but with many RPG elements: open-world, quests and NPCs will be waiting for you! One of the inspirations [for] the developers would also be the series of Elder Scrolls (Skyrim, Oblivion)."

The Elder Scrolls series features a radically free-form approach to the RPG genre, and has continued to blend elements of action games into its most recent games in an effort to enhance the franchise's accessibility. The Half-Life franchise, on the other hand, has remained largely linear throughout its tenure, although Episode Two did show hints of a more open gameplay model with a number of large environments to explore. This shift in Valve's development philosophy will likely stun many gamers if true, but the studio has given consumers every reason to trust in their creative decisions with an immaculate portfolio.  

Explaining a delay that seems to taking forever, the source claimed that the development of Half-Life 3 has been "very chaotic," due to frequent shifts in the Valve's vision for the gameplay's direction, and that it has been "revived several times."

Valve has not yet responded to the rumor.

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