Dota 2 community member Cyborgmatt always posts an in-depth analysis of the new content in each week’s patch to the test client. These patches to the Dota 2 test client are tested for one day in a client separate from the main game, and then added to the game the next day.
This week, there was no new hero unfortunately, but there was something interesting in the files. A batch of models for an unreleased courier was spotted in the files. The couriers are alternate skins for the default donkey courier in Dota 2. Players can equip them, and if they buy the courier for their team, it will appear in whatever skin they use. There are things like robots, demons, sheep, turtle riders, yaks, llamas, and more.
The unreleased courier was a Houndeye, a creature from the Half-Life series. Houndeyes were common enemies in the original Half-Life that would emit high frequency sound waves damaging the player. The Houndeye courier looks like a basic Houndeye, but with a barrel and Stout Shield strapped to it. There is also a flying version with wings, since all couriers must have a walking and flying model.
Many people want to believe the Houndeye is a sign that Valve is preparing to unveil the long-awaited Half-Life 3. The last Half-Life game released was in 2007, with Half-Life 2: Episode Two. Gamers have been waiting for six years to hear more about the next iteration of Half-Life. The most common theory is that the Houndeye courier is a preorder bonus for Half-Life 3, as Valve as well as other developers, have been known to give out digital content as a preorder bonus with Team Fortress 2. Given that Dota 2 is free to play, it would make perfect sense there as well.
A more plausible, but less common theory, is that the Houndeye courier is for Black Mesa (also known as Black Mesa Source), the fan-made Half-Life remake, to come to Steam. Black Mesa was greenlit on Steam Greenlight recently, and it’s highly likely it’s Steam release will come when the final sections of the mod are finished. Houndeyes were also only present in Half-Life, and not Half-Life 2 or any of the episodes.