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I'm just a gamer who came to ModDB to break into modding community.
I am an amateur writer and a game designer wannabe, plus I make some mods. I'm 20. My interests are focusing mostly around sci-fi and fantasy, my favourite universes being Elder Scrolls, Halo and Mass Effect.

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G-Man theories

Gman face

G-Man - every fan of the Half-Life series is familiar with this character. He secretly oversees Gordon's actions throughout the franchise and is said to manipulate other characters and to be responsible for causing the most important events of the Half-Life universe. Surprisingly, as important as his role is, there is little to nothing known about him. Where did he come from? What are his goals? Who is he? The fact that he has such a significant impact on the storyline, yet remains so mysterious makes him one of the most (if not the most) intriguing characters in video game history.

Many touched on that topic before, but since I didn't (and I'm kinda bored), I'll take my time (and yours) to name and analyze every single (or at least the most interesting) G-Man theory I've heard or came out with throughout last years. One thing to make clear before I start - Half-Life series (in my opinion) divides to 2 separted parts: pre-Episodes, in which Gordon is under G-Man's control and Episodes, in which Gordon broke free with help from Vortigaunts. This said, almost everything that happens by the time of Episodes, happens against G-Man's plan. So get ready and hope Valve won't silence me for this ;)

WARNING! This blog may contain various spoilers related to Half-Life series and other forms of media.

1. G-Man as Gordon Freeman from the future

G(ordon Free)man gman hev

This is propably the oldest and second most popular theory out there, however I find it to be little more than unlikely. First off, I'm not sure if Gordon would want to, essentialy, torment his past self, by forcing him(self) to fight Xen aliens, Combine, even other humans, frequently get shot at and risk his life dozens of times. Not because of the simple empathy towars himself, but because of the possible time paradox. If Gordon would die, then G-Man would never come to existance.

Second thing, it's simply because of my personal aversion to time travel theme in stories. Let me explain - if the protagonist at the end of the story goes back in time and does something that caused the entire story to begin in the first place. This makes the story loop itself, without any particular conclusion, therefore makes it meaningless in the end. In other words - something happens, because it happened. It also erases the whole story, making all the effort characters put in achieving their goals meaningless aswell. SPOILER ALERT! That plot devise was used in, for example, Interstellar, and while the overall movie was really great, in my opinion ending destroyed it completely.

A simple scheme that might explain what I mean

Last, but not least, the supposed physical similarities between Gordon and the G-Man. The undeniable evindence of that they don't look the same is the simple fact that their faces were based off of different people. While Gordon appears to resemble Kely Bailey (with a pinch of few other Valve employees), the G-Man, as he appears in Half-Life 2 was based on this man:

2. Enemy to the Combine

Propably the most popular theory, stating that G-Man is the government man of a third-party interdimentional empire of powerful beings/resistance, possibly surpassing the Combine in terms of technology, which already fought the Universal Union for eons. The current relations between the Combine and G-Man's employers could be compared to the Cold War between US and the Soviet Union (the Combine obviously being the equivalent of SSSR) and its possible that G-Man's race is already outnumbered and at the edge of extinction. In this theory, G-Man caused the Resonance Cascade and the Uprising in order to turn Combine's attention to Earth, as a diversion while his 'employers' prepare to the final war against their enemies.

This theory seems to be the most plausible, in my opinion. It also gives us hope to witness that 'final war' in future instalments of the Half-Life franchise (if it ever continues). One thing to point out: As G-Man's employers (according to this theory) want to sacrifice Earth in order to win the war, it definitely doesn't make them trustworthy allies for humans and their plans for humanity remain unknown.


3. Ally to the Combine

It seems more than impossible at first, I know, but if you think of it more, it actually becomes very, very likely that G-Man is actually working for our hated enemies. Think of it: in Half-Life 1 he causes the Resonance Cascade that atracts Combine to Earth. After Gordon kills Nihilanth (allowing the Combine to take over Earth), G-Man sais that "Xen is in our control", meaning that Combine took over the Border World. Breen then made an agreement with Universal Union, ending the Seven Hour War, but also interfering with G-Man's plans. The only outcome of Gordon's actions in Half-Life 2 (initiated by G-Man) is that after Breen's death the Advisors take direct control over Combine forces on Earth and then almost open the Super Portal to Combine Overworld in Episode Two, therefore almost begining the second Combine invasion on Earth. It was only thanks to Vortigaunts' intervention in Episode One that Gordon and Alyx managed to close the Portal and prevent possible destruction of humanity. Against G-Man's will.


This theory might comletely change the meaning of the Half-Life series, making Gordon less of a hero, and more of a villain, unaware of that his actions bring more harm than good to humanity. This also makes Wallace Breen a more complex and conflicted character - he tries to save Earth and maintain it's status in the Universal Union despite the fact that a more powerful being wants the completely opposite fate for human kind.

It also makes G-Man the ultimate villain in the Half-Life series, especially now that Gordon broke free from his control.

4. Breen from the future

Now this is my own theory I made up like 6/7 years ago, connected to the Breen Grub theory, which implies that Breen survived his confrontation with Gordon Freeman at the end of Half-Life 2, tho he was lethaly injured, the only way for him to survive being to transfer his mind into a host body of a Combine Advisor. For this theory I've also made up a bit of HL3 plot: after being supposedly finaly destroyed in Half-Life 3, Breen's mind takes form of the G-Man and goes back in time to stop Gordon and, being amazed with the power he achieved, make sure that his past self will become an Advisor as well. According to this theory everything Gordon did in the Half-Life series, being secretly manipulated by the G-Man/Breen, leads to the Combine invasion, Breen becoming the ruler of Earth and then him becoming an Advisor. This would explain the circumstances at which Breen aknowledged G-Man's existence and why G-Man puts Gordon in stasis right after he stops Breen (to make sure he won't die at Gordon's hand), however it recycles the time travel theme I've mentioned in the first theory.

breen man

In addition, in Episode Two G-Man refers to Breen as the 'naysayer' (and that 'quelling him was out of the question'), this meaning that G-Man finds Breen to be shortsighted, questioning G-Mans actions. This indicates that G-Man cannot be Breen, as in that case they would both agree with eachother. On the other hand, it might mean that the 'future Breen' (G-Man) is simply beyond 'past Breen's' comprehension.


5. Cave Johnson theory

That's an interesting one. It's fairly similar to the Breen theory, atleast to some extent, except that it doesn't include time travel at any point. According to this theory Cave Johnson, the CEO of Aperture Science, never died. He found a way for his mind to abandon his incurable body and decided to take revenge on Black Mesa (possibly blaming them for stealing Aperture technology and causing him to get sick from moonrock poisoning in the first place). The rest is pretty self-explainatory, as long as it comes to Half-Life 1 storyline. This theory would explain G-Man's ability to self teleport (as he might be using some sort of Portal Gun) and G-Man's possible interest in Borealis, which might storage a technology capable of bringing him back to life or might allow him to 'resurrect' his whole corporation.

cave johnson aging

It is unclear, however, who the 'employers' might be in that case, as Cave Johnson was Aperture boss himself. It doesn't explain Cave Johnson's motivations by the time of Half-Life 2 either. It might be possible that he wanted Gordon to kill Breen as his final act of revenge, but I think it's a bit fetched.

6. G-Man and Vortigaunts

In this theory, after Vortigaunts are enslaved by Nihilanth, they ask G-Man for help. He agrees to make a deal with aliens and then proseeds to make a plot. He is aware of experiments conducted in Black Mesa on Earth, and decides to use that knowledge to his advantage. He causes the Resonance Cascade to attract Nihilanth's attention. In the course of Black Mesa Incident he notices that Gordon fights his way through aliens and soldiers efficiently. G-Man decides to use Freeman, possibly making him go to Xen and, eventually, kill Nihilanth, releasing Vortigaunts in process.


Then Combine comes in. They conquer both Earth and Xen, leading to enslavement of Vortigaunts once more. G-Man sends Goron back to Earth, to fight the Combine and liberate Xen aliens. After Breen dies, G-Man decides that Gordon accomplished his task, and that G-Man's deal with Vortigaunts is over. Vortigaunts, however, disagree with him and take Gordon away from him. It is possible that at some point G-Man deceived Vortigaunts. They learned about it and decided to stop him, releasing Gordon, as they realized long ago he can help them.

Gman Vortigaunts prologue

After this turning point G-Man becomes slave to Vortigaunts himself. After some time, however, he adapts to new situation and manages to contact Gordon. For unknown reasons he sees discovery of the Borealis as an opportunity, rather than misfortune, even tho it wasn't in his initial plans. What happens next is unclear for obvious reasons.

7. God-man or Satan

G-Man's amazing powers, ability to control time and space and wield influence on minds of other live forms made some people believe he is actually representing the force majeure and the Act of God. In this theory, G-Man stands for 'God-Man', as he is the Messenger of God/gods ruling over our Universe and he leads Gordon (the Messiah) and entire humanity towards fullfilling unknown, divine plan. Other version of this theory states that G-Man is Satan, as he quietly manipulates people to achieve his goals and makes unfair deals with them. As we know, if Gordon doesn't want to work for him at the end of Half-Life, he leaves Freeman to die on Xen. This might refer to Hell.

It's worth pointing out that G-Man also shares some similarities with Nyarlathoteph, a deity from Chthulhu mythos. Just like G-Man, Nyarlathoteph is a powerful being, yet still remains but a servant and Messenger of the Elder Gods/Employers. Surprisingly enough, Nyarlathoteph is able to shapeshift, in order to gain trust of lesser creatures... Coincidence?


8. The G-Man Show

Another, newer theory of mine. According to this theory, G-Man works as a war correspondent/journalist for a sort of interdimentional news network. He bare witness to most of the biggest interdimentional conflicts, making them a sort of enterntainment for his own, and many other, civilizations. Eventualy, to maintain his popularity, he fabricates the Black Mesa Incident and following events on Earth and Xen in order to simply make profit of off reporting and broadcasting news on the situation across the entire Multiverse. He also uses Gordon by the time of Half-Life 2 to escalate the conflict between humanity and the Universal Union. The fact that we can spot G-Man on various tv screens throughout Half-Life 2 can refer to this.



This theory differs from other because of the fact that in this case G-Man finds the Uprising not as the mean to acomplish the long-term goal, but as a goal itself. Esentialy, he turned war into a profitable business, on a scale unimaginable for humans.

This is another theory which makes G-Man the ultimate villain of the series, this time next to the Combine.

9. Illuminati theory

Next theory states that G-Man is essentialy secretly the ruler of Earth/agent of a sercret Illuminati-like organisation controling our world, which even has connections with governments. The ultimate goal of this organisation is to develop technology and ensure prospect of human race. In this theory G-Man is actually a human, either in possession of prototype local teleportation technology (portal gun?) or gaining his trademark supernatural powers in the course of Resonace Cascade. Failure of the experiment at Black Mesa is obviously not a part of his plan in this case, as it's caused exclusively by Administration trying to rush it and simple unfortunate coincidence.


This might mean that G-Man's employers are somewhat responsible for the containment operation at Black Mesa. In the end, seeing how Gordon managed to deal with this critical situation, G-Man consults his employers on that Gordon might be a valuable asset to their cause. During his final speech at the end of Half-Life 1, G-Man even mentions that he took all the weapons away from Gordon, because "most of them were government's property".

After that, his employers, along with world leaders, try to deal with newly appeared alien thread. In the aftermath of the Seven Hour War they obviously lose their power to the Combine and have to 'disappear', waiting for an opportune time to take Earth back, with a significant help from the Resistance and Gordon Freeman. This scenario resembles Illuminati from Deus Ex game.

10. ValvE

This is definitely more of a joke rather than a serious theory, claiming that G-Man, aka 'Gabe-Man', works for ValvE, overseeing not only Gordon Freeman, but also the player him/herself.

Anyway, this is all of the G-Man theories worth mentioning that I know. Please leave a comment to let me know what you think about them, or if you know any theory I haven't mentioned here that you find to be interesting. Thanks for reading and have a good day ;)

Images taken from:

Half-Life wiki

Lovecraft wiki

Mass Effect wiki

"Dr. Hax" by GenSamus

"Tell me, Dr Freeman" by Quinn-G

Total writing time: 6 hours

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Comments  (0 - 10 of 81)

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i miss the Bluesh**t199 :(

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Blue199 Creator

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Blue199 Creator

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Blue199 Creator

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