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Rumor: Half-Life 2 announcement teased by 'Freeman' art [update]

There's a substantial number of games we've been hoping to see unveiled at E3 later this month, but our desire for the announcement of one game in particular easily overshadows all others: Half-Life 2: Episode 3. We've tempered our expectations for such an announcement after being disappointed at trade shows for like, a decade -- but if the teaser image posted after the jump is legit, our wait might just be coming to an end in a little over a week.

The image features the Half-Life Lambda symbol, the word "Freeman," a barely visible watermark of what appears to be G-Man's face, and a mention of June 14 -- the original date for the (rather humorously) canceled Portal 2 event. We're still worried about playing the Charlie Brown to Valve's Lucy -- Rock, Paper, Shotgun claims the image is a fake, but doesn't provide the source for that information. We've contacted Valve about the teaser's authenticity, though we're finding it awfully hard to type out an email when all of our fingers are crossed.

Update: Reader Jake Handy pinged Valve's Gabe Newell about this, and Newell's response couldn't have been clearer -- or more terse: "Fake."

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