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G-Man (Half-Life): Wikis


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The G-Man
HalfLife GMan.jpg
Left: The G-Man, as he appears in Half-Life. Right: His appearance in and after Half-Life 2
Series Half-Life
First game Half-Life
Voiced by Michael Shapiro

The G-Man, voiced by Michael Shapiro, is a mysterious recurring character in the Half-Life series of first-person shooter video games. He is known to display peculiar behavior and capabilities beyond that of a normal human, and his identity and motives remain almost completely unexplained. He plays the role of an overseer and employer, both observing the player as the games progress and pulling strings to control the outcome of specific events throughout the Half-Life saga. He claims to answer to some unseen higher authority which he refers to as simply his 'employers'. The G-Man's constant appearances in the Half-Life games, as well as his revealing dialogues with series protagonist Gordon Freeman, imply he is of great importance and somewhat anchors the endeavors of the player. His mysterious nature has made him an icon of the Half-Life series.


Appearance and behavior

The G-Man is a middle-aged white male with a tall and thin physique, pale/chalky skin, dark brown hair shaped in a military-style crew cut with a prominent widow's peak, blue-green eyes and usually holding a briefcase. Although not included in the gameplay, on inspection of the model for Half-Life, a pistol can be found in this briefcase. He is conservative in appearance, dressed in an ordinary gray/blue two-piece business suit. The book Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar states that his appearance in Half-Life 2 is based on the famous Alexander Technique practitioner Frank Sheldon. The G-man speaks in a slow, raspy yet commanding manner, with a certain accentuated low-key moroseness to his tone, sometimes placing unusual stress on syllables, stressing the wrong parts of words, making unneeded pauses, and awkwardly changing the pitch of his voice, sometimes in the middle of a word. In the end of Half-Life 2 G-man emphasizes the word "time" repeatedly as well, as if it has significance. It is common for the G-Man to elongate "S" sounds ("Limitlessss potential").

His odd manner of speaking, bordering on the cryptic, along with his appearance, alludes to the behavior of the Men in Black in various reports, and the apparent age and physical status of the G-Man doesn't seem to change in the time that passes between Half-Life and Half-Life 2 (which, according to the Episode One website, is nearly twenty years).[1]

The G-Man exudes a calm, almost uninterested demeanor – in situations in which other humans panic and flee, the G-Man can be seen calmly straightening his tie or brushing his suit lapels with his hand. When working on the G-Man in Half-Life 2, animator Doug Wood stated, "I wanted the player to never quite know what side the G-Man was on. I would have him express an apologetic look toward Freeman as he 'regretted' to put Dr. Freeman in this situation, but then give a slight smirk or smile at the end to keep you guessing about his sincerity."[2] Before animating the G-Man's facial expressions, Wood spent weeks in front of a mirror practicing the expressions on himself.[2]


The G-Man's name is taken from the character's model (possibly a reference to the slang term G-Man, referring to an agent of the United States Government). The character is also referred to as "Gman" in the voice actor list in the credits of Half-Life 2. Furthermore, in the manual for Opposing Force, Adrian Shephard makes mention of him as "a G-man." In Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, it is noted that "while the codename 'G-Man' slipped into common use, it remains merely a codename."


In Half-Life, the Nihilanth makes a vague reference to the G-Man as he talks to Gordon before their battle, referring to him as "not man" and adding "for you [Freeman] he waits..." In the final chapter of Half-Life 2, Doctor Breen speaks to Gordon Freeman, implying he has "proven [himself] a fine pawn for those who control [him]," and informing Freeman that his "contract was open to the highest bidder." In addition, the Vortigaunts have several ambiguous lines that could be references to the G-Man. In the introduction to Episode One, the Vortigaunts are able to directly confront him, as well as overpower him to free Gordon Freeman. In Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Eli Vance strongly implies that he also knows the G-Man, referring to him as "our mutual fiend." Additionally, in Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Alyx Vance is directly spoken to by the G-Man while she is unconscious, but repeats the words to her father, confirming that she and the G-Man have truly come into contact.


The G-Man seemingly has the power to appear in any place he chooses, including moving to and from other dimensions on a whim. He is also able to slow down time, or at least the player's perception of it, at various points. In Half-Life, the G-Man will repeatedly appear in places that he should not be able to exit unnoticed or at all, yet is always gone by the time the player can investigate. While he is normally unreachable, there are certain situations in Half-Life where the G-Man can be fired upon and even caught, though he cannot be harmed. However, considering that the player is not normally supposed to do such things, this may not have any relevance to the character.

The G-Man seems to be able to take people into "parallel universe"-like areas and can put them into stasis. In most games featuring the G-Man, there are several sequences when the G-Man is talking at close range to the player, and various areas can be seen in the background, including areas from Black Mesa or even areas the player will visit later into the game. In these sequences, the G-Man talks to the player (the player's character never responds or reacts in any way) and can be seen quickly appearing in different portions of the screen, in dream-like sequences. He also appears on TV screens and "Breen Casts" dotted around the environment; G-Man also seems to have technopathic or telepathic abilities of some sort, as the player will occasionally see his face on things such as unplugged televisions. The G-Man is capable of operating a very wide range of machinery and technology, ranging from cellular phones and sealed steel doors to nuclear warheads and teleporters. In addition, he also appears to have the ability to plant subconscious suggestions or commands in others through psychic or hypnotic means, as he demonstrates on Alyx Vance in Half-Life 2: Episode 2 by ordering her to relay the words "prepare for unforeseen consequences" to her father Eli Vance, which she eventually does, apparently with no awareness of what she is doing.

In-game appearances

The G-Man appears several times in each game while the player is freely moving, though often in out-of-the-way locations so that it may be difficult for a first-time player to see him. It is almost universally impossible to go directly to where he is standing – before he has an opportunity to disappear from that place, at any rate. If fired upon in the few areas in which he could be, the bullet will ricochet as if the player has shot metal. Many of his appearances seem to correlate around significant plot points of each game, some more directly than others.


The G-Man is first seen standing in a stopped tram adjusting his tie (which he is usually seen doing), and he arrives at Sector C before Gordon. Before the experiment begins, the G-Man can be seen through a window arguing heatedly with a scientist in a locked room of Sector C. Following the catastrophic resonance cascade, which commences the game's action through Black Mesa, the G-Man can be seen quietly observing the player in several out-of-reach areas as the game progresses. In several cases, the player arrives in rooms or locations where the G-Man was previously seen, even though the areas are often inaccessible to other characters or swarming with monsters, and personnel in the location do not seem to have noticed him. Other times he will disappear into corridors that are seemingly dead ends.

After Gordon defeats Nihilanth, the ruler of Xen and the final boss in Half-Life, the G-Man brings the player to "safety" in an inexplicable, abstract sequence, appearing beside Gordon, having stripped him of his armaments and showing him various areas of Xen. Eventually the scene changes into what appears to be a tram (like the one from the beginning of the game) traveling through space at an incredible speed. The G-Man tells Gordon that he has been observing him very carefully and praises him on his actions in Xen, which, following an attempted invasion by the Hazardous Environment Combat Unit, is now in his "employers'" control. The G-Man then informs him that he has recommended Gordon's services to his "employers" and offers him a job. The player is presented with a Hobson's choice; declining the offer results in the unarmed Freeman facing a horde of hostile aliens as the screen fades to black with the G-Man's final words; "No regrets, Mr. Freeman?", then the player is taken back to the previous scene and presented with the question again. Ostensibly, canon states that Gordon takes the job, with G-Man stating, "Wisely done, Mr. Freeman. I will see you up ahead." In Half-Life 2, the game lifts off, assuming you took the job.


In the final portion of the demo, G-Man is seen calmly watching from a vantage point as a Gargantua massacres several humans. He is unfazed when the glass in front of him shatters; he then calmly walks away.

Opposing Force

In the expansion pack, Half-Life: Opposing Force, the G-Man plays a slightly more direct role in the story, alternately hindering and aiding the player, Corporal Adrian Shephard, as well as simply observing.

During the boot camp training sequence, the G-Man can be spotted at a window speaking with an officer, and occasionally glancing at the player. Since the drill instructor mentions that Shephard's training has been mysteriously accelerated, the implication is that the G-Man had an interest in Shephard before the Black Mesa incident for reasons unknown. The game manual also suggests that the G-Man warned the Marines of the upcoming Black Mesa incident.

At one point Shephard is trapped on a small walkway, with deadly corrosive/radioactive liquid rising steadily towards him. The G-Man opens a door allowing him to escape, saving his life. One level later, as Shephard attempts to evacuate Black Mesa with the rest of the Marines, the G-Man closes a hangar door, forcing him to remain on the base. Later on, the G-Man is seen rearming the nuclear bomb that destroys Black Mesa, which Shephard had deactivated moments prior.

After Shephard defeats the Gene worm at the end of Opposing Force, the G-Man appears again. On this occasion, Shephard finds himself on board one of the HECU's Osprey aircraft, facing the G-Man. The G-Man informs Shephard that, contrary to his employer's original wishes, Shephard is to be spared, but detained in a way where "he could do no possible harm" and "no harm could come to him." The G-Man says that he has been impressed by Shephard's ability to "adapt and survive against all odds" in the Black Mesa facility, and comments that these are traits that remind him of himself. As the G-Man delivers this closing monologue, the plane carries them away from Black Mesa, shortly before a nuclear blast flashes outside confirming its destruction. The aircraft's location then suddenly switches to the skies of Xen, then finally to an emptiness similar to that encountered by the Black Mesa tram at the end of Half-Life. The G-Man then leaves Shephard via a teleporter in the cockpit, and the screen fades to the closing titles. " Subject Shephard. Status Detained. Further evaluation pending".

Blue Shift and Decay

In both Half-Life: Blue Shift and Half-Life: Decay, the main characters of each game, Barney Calhoun and Doctors Gina Cross and Colette Green, see the G-Man on one occasion near the beginning of each game, but he doesn't seem to notice any of them.

Half-Life 2

Half-Life 2 begins with Gordon being greeted approximately one to two decades in the future by the G-Man, while seeing a dream-like montage of images such as the Black Mesa test chamber, and interior areas of the Citadel. In his speech, the G-Man hints that he put Gordon into stasis for his own safety, and that an opportunity has now arisen that will allow Freeman to begin his campaign against the Combine forces on Earth, saying "the right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world."

The G-Man continuously refers to Gordon Freeman as "Mr. Freeman" throughout the introductory sequence, forgoing Gordon's proper title of doctor, to which he is entitled as a Doctor of Physics. However, during the ending sequence, he refers to Gordon as "Dr. Freeman."

The G-Man is briefly visible at various other points during the events of the game, including along the different vehicle sequences, but these are only from a great distance or as seen on video terminals until the game's finale. One notable sighting is through a pair of binoculars, where the G-Man can be seen conversing with Colonel Odessa Cubbage, of which Cubbage makes no mention. Later, after an uphill battle in the cloud-penetrating Citadel skyscraper, Gordon causes critical damage to the structure's dark fusion reactor, resulting in an explosion that would most certainly cause his death. The G-Man stops time in order to extract Gordon to await further "employment offers." The game ends with travel through the same emptiness that was Half-Life's ending, and with the G-Man stepping through some sort of doorway portal, though not before adjusting his tie.

The G-Man, at this point, makes it clear that he will once again be placing Freeman in stasis while he entertains some "interesting offers" for Gordon's services, this time making no mention of his employers as he had in Half-Life, though he does state that he is not at liberty to inform Gordon of something yet to come.

Episode One

The G-Man is only seen once in Half-Life 2: Episode One. At the beginning of the game, which begins at the point when Half-Life 2 ends, the G-Man walks back into the black void in which he left Gordon and opens his mouth to say something, only to notice a purple, glowing Vortigaunt to his left. He appears to be slightly amused at the sight, until several more show up, chanting things such as "love", and "destiny" at which point he is clearly annoyed when he realizes what is happening. As two Vortigaunts move to free Gordon, the G-Man violently straightens his tie and responds to their chant with a single sentence: "We'll see... about that." Gordon is then immediately teleported away and found by Dog and Alyx in a pile of rubble just outside the Citadel.

A commentary node in Episode Two confirms that the G-Man makes no appearances in Episode One to convey that he had lost track of Gordon after the Vortigaunts took him. Even the objective failure messages are altered: whereas those in Half-Life and Half-Life 2 were written in a cold, business-like manner evident of the G-Man's point of view, those in Episode One and Episode Two use the Vortigaunts' romantic English mannerisms.

Episode Two

In Half-Life 2: Episode Two, the G-Man first appears to Gordon while a group of Vortigaunts are occupied healing the recently injured Alyx Vance. Just like in Half Life 2, he appears in a surreal, dream-like sequence taking place in several locations : the rocket silo from the White Forest base, the same corridor as the one seen in the message left by Doctor Judith Mossman, and the entrance to the Black Mesa Facility seen in Half-Life. In this sequence, the G-Man comments that he was unable to contact Gordon until the Vortigaunts were distracted. He then explains that he was the one to "pluck" Alyx Vance from Black Mesa, despite objections from unidentified naysayers that she was "a mere child" and "of no practical use to anyone" (an image of Doctor Breen flashes in the background at this comment). He then instructs Gordon to safely escort Alyx to the White Forest, as repayment for the G-Man's previous ensurance of his survival, stating he wished he could do more than simply monitor Gordon, but he has agreed to "abide by certain restrictions." While Alyx is still unconscious, he then whispers into her ear to tell her father to "prepare for unforeseen consequences" when she sees him. He seems to be less rigid during the sequence and is depicted as more human.

Following this sequence, observant players can again spot the G-Man in several locations as they play through the game. When Alyx and Gordon eventually reach White Forest, the main screen in the control room briefly flashes the image of the G-Man, which Alyx notices, marking the first time someone other than the player notices him. This triggers the order the G-Man gave Alyx, causing her to relate his message to her father in an uncharacteristically monotonous tone. She seems to forget doing so afterward.

Eli is noticeably disturbed by the words, to the point where he almost collapses. After making an excuse for Alyx to leave the room, Eli reveals to Gordon that he is aware of their "mutual friend" as well. He explains that the G-Man delivered the sample that ultimately caused the Black Mesa Incident, and whispered in his ear to "prepare for unforeseen consequences" shortly before the resonance cascade. ("Unforeseen Consequences" is the title of the chapter after the resonance cascade in Half-Life). Eli then begins to express hope that he and Gordon will be able to take some unknown action, but is interrupted by Alyx's return. Shortly after, Eli tells Gordon he believes the message is a warning regarding the Borealis, and reiterates his belief that it should be destroyed lest the events of Black Mesa repeat themselves. Eli hints that he knows more about the G-Man when he relates to Gordon that he has more to share, but is interrupted by Alyx and later dies before getting a chance to explain.


GameDaily listed G-Man as one of the 25 evil video game masterminds of all time.[3]


  1. ^ Half-Life 2: Episode One story page
  2. ^ a b Valve; Hodgson, David SJ (2004), p. 137. Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar. Random House, Inc. ISBN 0-7615-4364-3
  3. ^

External links

Simple English

The G-Man is the mysterious character that constantly appears and interferes in the Valve Software games Half-Life, Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode 1 and Half-Life 2: Episode 2.

As of yet it is not yet certain who the suit-wearing man is, although it is commonly agreed that he has a pivotal role to play in the upcoming Half-Life 2: Episode 3. Avid followers of the series will know that he appears in almost every game level (see G-Man Locations), and lots of fan sites have been set up in his honour.

Many speculate that the G-Man is actually Gordon Freeman, the star of the games and who you play as.

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