Game Theory: Gaming’s Biggest Mystery SOLVED! | Half Life G MAN Theory

Game Theory: Gaming’s Biggest Mystery SOLVED! | Half Life G MAN Theory


(whoosh) (MattPat’s creepy voice) Rise and shine, loyal theorists. Rise and . . . shine. Not that I wish to imply you have been sleeping on the job, watching your videos on fidget spinners and Jake Paul. Well, let’s just say your hour has come . . . again, to wake up, theorists. Wake up and smell the ashes. (MattPat’s regular cheerful voice) Hello, Internet! Welcome to Game Theory, the show where I inadvertently piss off fandoms of games that I am genuinely a fan of, slowly alienating me as a gamer franchise by franchise– all except Mario games for some reason. Apparently, I can say whatever I want about him! Anyway, the sector of the Internet I am hoping not to enrage today is the “Half-Life” community as I try to solve what may be one of the longest standing mysteries in all of gaming– Who is the G-Man? “I do apologize for what must seem to you an arbitrary imposition. I trust it will all make sense to you in the course of . . . well, I’m really not at liberty to say.” I am, though, G-Man! It’s about fifteen minutes, about fifteen minutes (and twelve seconds). Now, since people born on the day the original “Half-Life” came out turned eighteen last year, it’s likely that many of you have only been exposed to this masterpiece of a franchise through “Half-Life 3 Confirmed” memes. So let me quickly catch you up on the series and why this guy is so endlessly fascinating and has kept gamers scratching their heads for decades. “Half-Life” puts you into the shoes of Gordon Freeman, MIT grad with THE most absurd doctoral thesis title imaginable. (deep breath) Yes! First time! One and done, baby! Yeah, for a guy who doesn’t talk for the entirety of the series, he’s awfully wordy. Anyway, Gordon starts a new job at the Black Mesa research facility and experiences THE worst first day ever when the team accidentally opens up a gateway that lets in hoards of murderous aliens. Looks like somebody’s got a bad case of the Mondays! You, as Gordon, have to go to the aliens’ dimension, known as Xen, in order to shut down whatever’s keeping these portals open. After crowbarring your way through hundreds of enemies and killing off a LITERAL testicle monster, you eventually find yourself face to face with the big bad–Xen’s leader, the Nihilanth, a giant, three-armed, floating fetus monster that’s holding open the portal. You do what you were trained to do in graduate school when first encountering intelligent extra-terrestrial life– SHOOT IT TILL IT DIES! As the battle wraps up, you black out, but when you come to, you’re face to face with this guy. We never hear his name spoken aloud, but resourceful gamers found him referenced as “the G-Man” in the game’s code, a name later confirmed by Valve. He explains that he and his mysterious employers are now in control of Xen, and he commends you with everything that you’ve done. “The border world, Xen, is in our control for the time being, thanks to you. Quite a nasty piece of work you managed over there. I am impressed.” The game ends with him offering you a new job, working for him and his employers. Accept the offer, and he puts you into stasis until he needs you again. “That’s why I’m here, Mr. Freeman. I have recommended your services to my . . . employers, (deep breath) and they have authorized me to offer you a job.” Refuse, and he teleports you to a room filled of aliens from Xen to be beaten to death, but here’s the craziest thing– even though this is the first time that he talks to you in the game, if you’ve been paying attention, he’s been watching you silently from the corners the whole time, from out-of-reach locations, and it was HERE that the mystery of the G-Man was born. Gamers had years, YEARS, to contemplate who this character was, and with “Half-Life 2” featured him playing an even bigger role, the questions just began to mount. Who are his employers? How can you explain his odd voice and weird powers? Why is his character model so much uglier than everybody else’s? And today, after looking at all the evidence, ALL the expansion packs, ALL the hidden lore, the conclusion I’ve reached will blow your minds. Are you ready for this? After decades of waiting, I’ve discovered that the G-Man is Sans! Wait, wait, wait! Don’t hit that “Dislike” button! Obviously, I’m just kidding, obviously. The reason I bring it up, other than to poke fun at that theory, is that it’s worth noting that the G-Man possesses Sans-like powers. He seems to have the ability to teleport since he can disappear without notice. You’ll also often see him moving in one direction, but then he’ll appear ahead of you somehow. He has telekinetic powers, and we can even see during the end of “Half-Life 2” that he can stop time. “Time, Dr. Freeman? Is it really that time again?” He appears and disappears across miles in seconds, and between the first game and the second places Gordon Freeman in stasis outside of time. The G-Man plays with the laws of space and time like a fiddle, and this is important since it gives us our first clue as to who this guy actually is. “Half-Life 2” opens twenty years after the events of “Half-Life 1” with a creepy monologue from the G-Man to Gordon implying that it’s time for you to make good on your employment. In the twenty years since you’ve been put in stasis, a whole ‘nother alien civilization has invaded Earth, this time known as the Combine. The Combine is hard core! According to the in-game lore, they ground every military on Earth to dust (boom!) in just seven hours, and we come to learn that the Nihilanth and his warriors from “Half-Life 1” have been kicked out of their home planet and were hiding on Xen from these guys. So, considering that the G-Man explicitly states that he and his employers are in control of Xen at the end of “Half-Life 1,” that must mean that he’s a representative of the Combine then. Right? No! The Combine is awesome and a military force that can’t be reckoned with, but they’re bad at one thing–teleportation. Well, teleportation and apparently stopping a science nerd carrying a crowbar, but whatever. It’s a major plot point in “Half-Life 2” that the Combine, while powerful, can’t teleport within a dimension. (beeping) Sure, they can teleport BETWEEN dimensions, but once they’re in a local space, they have to get around using normal means: trains, cars, jets, and spaceships. But as we’ve seen, the G-Man has no problems Dr. Who-ing it up. Additionally in “Half-Life 2,” any NPCs that are allied to the rebellion against the Combine will not attack the G-Man, (ding!) while those who are pro-Combine will (buzz!). So the G-Man is the enemy of the Combine, right? Well, it’s not so clear-cut. In the DLC–sorry, I mean “Expansion Pack,” DLC didn’t exist back then– In the Expansion Pack, “Half-Life Opposing Force,” the G-Man is seen rearming a nuclear bomb that eventually destroys Black Mesa, the same nuclear bomb that your character had just deactivated, and if that wasn’t strange enough, it’s this explosion that catches the attention (“Metal Gear” alert sound) of the Combine in the first place who then target Earth for their next invasion. So the G-Man is an enemy of the Combine who just so happens to be the person who calls them to Earth in the first place. And this points to another key feature of this character– his role as chess-master. The G-Man is about making small moves that have disastrous long-term effects. We learn in “Half-Life 2: Episode 2” that he gave the crystal to Black Mesa which caused all the events in the first game to happen. He drops a nuke at the exact moment that causes a hostile alien invasion Instead of waking Gordon Freeman up when the Combine first attacks, he instead waits twenty years for the precise moment when Gordon’s return would perfectly galvanize humanity to create a successful armed-uprising that eventually destroys the Combine’s local presence. So, in total, to find the G-Man, we need to find something that can teleport, manipulate time, possesses deep knowledge of how future events fit together, and is an enemy to the Combine. And when you look at all of these traits, they perfectly describe . . . a Nihilanth, a creature that’s the same species as the final boss from the first game. Yes! It’s my theory that the G-Man, one of the most mysterious characters in the history of gaming is a creature related to the space-fetus from the first game. Let’s run down the list. As we covered earlier, all the creatures on Xen in “Half-Life” were running in fear from the Combine after that species took over their home planet. So they all have the motivation of revenge, and since they can’t beat the Combine themselves, setting up an elaborate plan where human resistance fighters will take the Combine down is a good alternate strategy. Just like the G-Man, the Nihilanth shows that he also has the power to create and manipulate local teleportation portals, as we see during the final battle against him. We also know that all creatures from Xen can manipulate time and space. The Vortigaunts, a peaceful alien species enslaved by the Nihilanth in “Half-Life 1,” are shown to have the same powers as the Nihilanth species, just weaker versions of those powers: teleporting, manipulating space, even existing outside of time. In “Half-Life 2, there’s an incredibly well-hidden cave that houses what’s known as the Singing Vortigaunt. This guy is like Exposition-Dump Central, but one interesting thing he says is this: The word “coterminous” means “existing at the same time.” So this proves that the Xen creatures are able to exist beyond the constraints of time, just like how the G-Man knows which actions to take to set in motion the Combine takeover as well as how he was able to set Gordon Freeman outside of time for twenty years. It’s also worth noting that when the Vortigaunts unite their powers, they’re able to stop the G-Man’s plans, preventing him from contacting you and actually teleporting you away from his command at the beginning of “Half-Life 2: Episode 1.” “We’ll see . . . about that.” This is an essential detail because the Vortigaunts have been enslaved by Nihilanths in the past, so of course they would be opposed to whatever plans the G-Man has. But perhaps the most [condemning] of all is that, like I said earlier when you refuse to work with him at the end of “Half-Life 1,” the G-Man teleports you to a room filled with aliens you spent the game killing, which is the exact same thing the Nihilanth does to you throughout the final boss battle against him. Now, I’m sure some of you must be confused. How can I say that this thing, the thing that you kill at the end of the first game, is the same as the G-Man? We literally see this creature die. Well, it’s easy, actually. There’s canonically more than one Nihilanth. Although the game acknowledges that this Nihilanth, the final boss of “Half-Life 1,” this species has been hunted to near extinction, according to a little-known interview with Marc Laidlaw, lead writer for the story of “Half-Life,” there have been others. When asked whether the Vortigaunts or Nihilanth have ever been captured by the Combine prior to “Half-Life 2,” Marc replied that: So we know that there are precursors to the Nihilanth species out there. But it gets deeper. Listen to this. (distorted noise) Did you hear it? “Comes another. Comes another.” That’s the Nihilanth talking telepathically to Gordon in the first game. Here, listen for it again. The Nihilanth, while communicating to you telepathically in “Half-Life 1” is outright saying there is another out there. “Comes another.” But it keeps going. Another of his lines is, This is a clear allusion to the G-Man, but why is it significant? Because of the name of this creature’s species, “Nihilanth.” Everything we need to know is hidden right there in the name. “Nihil,” Latin that literally means “none” or “nothing,” and “anth,” from the Greek “anthropo” which means “man.” His name, “Nihilanth,” nihil-anth, literally means “not man.” In one fell swoop, we are told outright that the G-Man is Not Man. He’s nihil-anth. Oh yeah! And here’s the kicker, a detail so minute but it locks this whole thing together. Look at this, “Nihilanth,” voiced by Michael Shapiro. “G-Man,” voiced by Michael Shapiro. The G-Man is actually voiced by the same actor as the Nihilanth boss. Doesn’t get much more clear cut than that. By the way, I’ve been joking about it this whole episode, but the Nihilanth looks like a human fetus. Is it too much to assume that one version of it or a precursor species could disguise itself as a saggy-faced human? Also, notice that the aliens from Xen tend to have this weird vestigial third arm right in the middle of their chests, the same place as where the G-Man is constantly playing with his tie. Tie or disguised arm? Alright, quit it, Matt. You’re starting to dip back into Sans-is-Nes territory. Should’ve just stopped back at the voice actor bit. Suffice to say, “Half-Life 3” may never actually be confirmed. It’s a meme that I sadly suspect will never come true, since Valve is too busy printing money with Steam and hat-based micro-transactions. This one is literally valued at $12000. Just sayin’. So with no big reveals or additional clues on the horizon, I figure this might be the closest we actually get to a final answer. And if you’re a “Half-Life” community member and this theory got you upset, hey, remember that at least I care about trying to solve this bit of lore as opposed to the people who made the game and will keep you hanging for eternity, or not have an answer at all. I mean, take it from Marc Laidlaw, again, the lead writer I mentioned earlier, who has gone on record himself to say, that “I don’t believe in canon.” So keep that in mind. And with that, I think it’s time. “Is it really that time again? It seems as if you’ve only just arrived.” Yep, G-Man, it’s time–time to remind everyone that it’s all just a theory, a Game Theory! Thanks for watching. “(gasp) Rather than offer you the illusion of free choice, I will take the liberty of choosing for you.” Subscribe. Listen to the G-Man. He would smash that subscribe button for you if it wasn’t for his tiny, weird, vestigial, baby arms. So do him a solid, punch that subscribe button in the next five seconds, and then comment below what other classic game franchise you want me to cover. 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . “In the meantime, this is where I get off.” (footsteps)

100 Comments on "Game Theory: Gaming’s Biggest Mystery SOLVED! | Half Life G MAN Theory"


  1. It's 11:55 where I am. I could go to bed, since I have my first day of school tomorrow, ooorrr I could watch Game Theory…. I guess you know which I chose.😂😅

    Reply

  2. Nice thesis, Gordon: An Observation of Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Entanglement on Supraquantum Structures by Induction Through Non-Linear Transuranic Crystal of Extremely Long Wavelength (ELW) Pulse from Mode-Locked Source Array

    In laymen's terms, it's an observation of "teleportation effects [caused by faster-than-light quantum tunnelling, aka the EPR paradox] on large[r than quantum scale] objects achieved by firing lasers of extremely low frequency (3 kHz and below) very quickly at crystals made of heavy, radioactive elements"—which sounds quite a bit like the very experiment in which you conduct in the first game…and so it turns out Dr Freeman was right all along, in the worst possible way.

    I like to think that MIT had neither the funding nor the resources to actually confirm his thesis experimentally when he got his PhD, but Black Mesa did, so the anti-mass spectrometer experiments were really his ideas being tested…by experimental physicists who didn't respect Dr Freeman enough to let him be in charge of his own experiments.

    Reply

  3. What if Valves next game is the sequel to half life 2 AND portal 2?

    Plot twist: Cave Johnson travels through time and meets Glados! Boy, he’ll be surprised

    Reply

  4. If we won't have a new half life valve can't make a new counter strike that generate free money for them they have to come back to it in the future who knows maybe 20 years after the combine forces invade the earth

    Reply

  5. It’s weird that creatures with all those powers needed humans which have none of those powers to effectively fight the Combine

    Reply

  6. Ik this video came out a long time ago but if G-man was a Nihilanth I'm wondering why he would be happy after he gained possession of Xen when members of his species were already there

    Reply

  7. Too late, I know, but I think that the g-man is not a "Nihilanth" but a Shu'ulathoi non-castrated, working for another rebels.
    Or, better, he was sended by an Union superior to the Combine one, and was serving know purposes.

    Reply

  8. When I put it together not as good as theorist, I thought it was Gordon Freeman Himself cause, G In G-Man Might Represent Gordon, And Man Might represent FreeMAN

    Reply

  9. The nuke didn’t catch the attention of the combine, if it did then The UU would have attacked in 1945 after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is already well known that the Resonance Cascade got the attention off the UU because they picked it up as the Races of den attempting to branch out to new worlds.

    Reply

  10. “The G-Man is actually voiced by the same actor as the Nihilanth Boss”. What about Barney Calhoun, he’s voiced by Micheal Shapiro. You telling me he’s a Nihilanth too!

    Reply

  11. I remember seeing something online that suggested the Outsider (Dishonored) is a younger G-man

    Reply

  12. its actually the player bcs G(ordon free)MAN. if g man is sans that means that the player is sans, and if so, it also means that the player is Ness from Earthbound! So That means that in earthbound Ness is just a nickname for the younger version of Gordon Freeman! so the timeline goes like this:
    1: Earthbound
    2: Half Life series
    3: Undertale

    Reply

  13. Zone of the Enders, PLEASE!
    (lol this is just a joke I don't even know what Zone of the Enders is 14:58 ) Also HOW THE HECK DOES ONE PRONOUNCE "JEH"!?

    Reply

  14. So we need someone who is brilliant, has first hand experience of time travel, time statis, teleporting, and knows the future … does not that describe a future Gordon Freeman…. G-Man – Gordon Free-Man …

    Reply

  15. the Gman possesses sans like powers
    actually more like sans possesses Gman like powers

    Reply

  16. Half-life: a measurement of a sample of radioactive material radiating half of its mass away in an approximately specific (it's complicated) time. Maybe the game's name has more connection to the game than we think…

    Reply

  17. Gordon Freeman? It rhymes with Morgan Freeman who G-Man sounds like; essentially, Half-Life 3 confirmed

    Reply

  18. There's gonna be Half-Life 3 but It's fan-made and at the same time It's gonna use Mark Laidlaw's Epistle 3 post, so It's probably gonna be canon or maybe not.

    Reply

  19. 15:45 the team captain… the moneymaker of valve and my dream since i started team fortress 2…

    Reply

  20. wasn't the nuclear explosion at Black Mesa that alerted the Combine, it was the several portal storms that began appearing across Earth

    Reply

  21. I’m about to get a tooth pulled and I’m freaking out, so I decided to watch this video to make me feel better. Thanks Game Theory! 😁

    Reply

  22. 13:16 the g man looks like my mem’ere! No joke, she doesn’t own a dress and is also very saggy faced.

    Reply

  23. I hate to be a mean lad here, but the Nihilanth was actually designed after Gabens fear of having a child. During the development of HL1, Gabens wife was pregnant with their son, and he was so fearful of a child when he was looking at the concept art and when he was actually designing the final boss, he decided to make it fetus like to get his fears of what’s to come out. You can find this in one of the father-son interviews they’ve done.

    Reply

  24. Ok, bear with me: Where is he getting the idea that combine are hostile towards G-Man? If anything, he is just as passively present in their company as he is in that of Gordon and his allies, as evidenced by his appearance in Nova Prospekt. If G-man possesses the abilities he does, and is also opposed to the Combine's rule, why would he not have the ability to prevent the combine's takeover of his species original homeworld and the consequent enslavement of the Xen inhabitants? Surely, he would have forseen their actions and devised a way to prevent them from ever forcing the Nihilinth species into the border world. Furthermore, why would he have orchestrated the death of one of his species by guiding Gordon towards the Xen world to kill it? How would he benefit from the destruction of the creatures on Xen and the Nihilinth when he could have used them to aid in the fight against the Combine? He would have the power to teleport an army of alien soldiers directly into the citadel or any other Combine stronghold at any time, while the Combine, while militarily powerful, struggle to even transmit basic data packages through teleportation, let alone entire armies (the very fact that they were able to invade Earth at all was merely a product of them taking advantage of the resonance cascade in the first place). A being with the G-man's abilities would be far more effective in destroying the combine if that was his intent. Finally, from a purely aesthetic standpoint, having a big reveal of the G-Man as a Nihilinth creature would do nothing for the advancement of Half-Life's story, and would not be an aesthetically satisfying answer to the question of his identity. I'm not saying that the video's creator is implying that Valve ever intended to make such a reveal, but they must have had some kind of plan about how to wrap the story up, and I doubt Marc Laidlaw created the character in the same way that "Lost" created the smoke monster and just about every other element in that show's plot (i.e. with the intent of deliberately cultivating mystery and intrigue without any plan of resolving the threads into a coherent plot). Let me put it this way: by the end of HL2: Episode 2, the player has all but forgotten about the Nihilinth, and cares little about how the creature fits into the story. Couple that with the fact that HL2 was revealed to a whole new generation of gamers, many of whom were not focused on the original Half Life story, or who hadn't played it at all due to it's then outdated design. Imagine if Valve proceeded to develop or hint at the Nihilinth/Gman relation in HL3. How would that be satisfying to the fans of the game? The Nihilinth was a giant floating fetus with no introduction or backstory that threw green balls at you in the final 1% of the game. It took five minutes to blow it to smithereens, and neither it nor its species was ever mentioned again in the story of HL2. Valve's developers would never have entertained of developed this theory simply because it wouldn't have been appealing to the players of HL2 and HL3. The Combine, the Vortigaunts, G-man, and even the headcrabs have been given more narrative focus than the Nihilinth. Valve would never endorse such a connection in their story if it wouldn't be appealing to the players, and if it couldn't be endorsed by Valve, then it would never be incorporated into the game's canon, and at most would remain a loosely possible, but still unlikely theory.

    Reply

  25. The Gman is wanted by the nihilanth overlord. So he disguised himself and manipulates time to get his desired outcome. Hmmmmm. OR I drank too much. Thanks voice text

    Reply

  26. So I’m sitting in my room high af and when you did that thing when you spun the half life logo I legit thought I was going to heaven

    Reply

  27. You should make an Infinity blade trilogy theory idc what it’s about just do one please

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *