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|series=[[Half-Life (series)|''Half-Life'' series]]
|series=[[Half-Life (series)|''Half-Life'' series]]
|firstgame=''[[Half-Life (video game)|Half-Life]]''
|firstgame=''[[Half-Life (video game)|Half-Life]]''
|voiceactor=[[Robert Culp]]
|voiceactor=[[John McCain]]

Revision as of 06:18, 7 September 2008


Wallace Breen
Half-Life series character
Doctor Wallace Breen, as seen in Half-Life 2.
First game Half-Life
Voiced by John McCain

Doctor Wallace Breen is a fictional character from the 2004 first-person shooter computer game Half-Life 2, produced by Valve Software. He is the primary antagonist in Half-Life 2 and also the puppet ruler of the Earth from his headquarters in the Citadel, the Combine stronghold in City 17.

He is voiced by actor Robert Culp. Breen is one of the few major characters in the series whose fate is currently unknown.


Half-Life and the Seven Hour War

Doctor Breen was the administrator of the Black Mesa Research Facility at the time of the "Black Mesa Incident," the events depicted in Half-Life, but he was neither seen nor mentioned by name. (He was instead referred to always as "the Administrator.") After the Seven Hour War, he "negotiated" a peace agreement with the Combine that saved humanity, but at the cost of enslavement. Doctor Breen was appointed as ruler of Earth — a puppet of the Combine, who have little physical presence on the planet. Despite his position and how he came to power, his intentions often appear to be noble and he sounds quite convinced that he is doing the right thing. Even if he has selfish reasons for doing so, the human race would have most definitely been completely destroyed or entirely enslaved by the Combine had he not surrendered Earth at the end of the Seven Hour War.

The Half-Life 2 art book, Raising the Bar, has information and images that indicate Breen used, at least in one point of the planned story if not in the final version, a radio transmitter tower on the surface (i.e., not in Black Mesa) to communicate directly to the Combine and negotiate a surrender. Images show him at the foot of the tower, wearing a headset linked directly to the tower, with arms held wide and speaking to the skies.

Yet another mystery surrounding Breen in Half-Life is near the beginning of the game, as Gordon Freeman is about to go into the test chamber, the two scientists briefing him say that the Administrator "went to some lengths to get it [the sample]." This statement lies dormant through most of the game until the player goes to Xen, and sees crystals similar to the one that Freeman pushes into the anti-mass spectrometer. Next to these crystals on Xen are corpses of HEV suit scientists like Freeman, perhaps explaining the "great lengths" mentioned in the beginning of the game. However, it is later revealed in Episode Two that the G-Man delivered the sample, but how he got it is a mystery - and whether the sample even relates to Breen is an open question; the dialogue at the end of Half-Life 2, "Did you know your contract was open to the highest bidder?" indicates that Breen is at least partially aware of the G-Man's involvement in the series.

Half-Life 2

Breen is alerted to the return of Gordon Freeman in Half-Life 2 when Gordon is temporarily teleported by accident to his office in the Citadel. Doctor Breen informs the Combine and immediately dispatches the forces at his disposal to capture Freeman and break the associated Resistance movement in City 17.

During Gordon Freeman's raid on the Citadel, Freeman is temporarily in the custody of Breen, until Judith Mossman turns against the administrator. During this period, Breen makes a very notable statement: he mentions while in the presence of Alyx Vance and her father, Eli (who are also in his custody) that Gordon "has proven a fine pawn to those who control him." He also comments that Gordon's services are "open to the highest bidder," and says he would understand if Gordon doesn't want to discuss it in front of his friends. These remarks imply that Breen may be aware of the mysterious G-Man and his influence over Freeman. It was also mentioned in one of the "Breencasts" to the Sector Seventeen Overwatch in Nova Prospekt; "I have good reason to believe that in the intervening years, he was in a state that precluded further development of covert skills."

When the human resistance begins to loosen the Combine's hold on Earth, Doctor Breen attempts to flee using a Combine teleporter. Gordon Freeman manages to stop him by destroying the Citadel's dark fusion reactor, which destroys the teleporter in a massive explosion, presumably consuming Breen in the process.

Half-Life 2: Episode One

Dr. Breen's fate remains unknown in Half-Life 2: Episode One. His only appearances in the game are during an apparent flashback/dream with Gordon at the beginning, asking Freeman to think about all that he has destroyed, and what exactly he has created. Another occasion of Breen's appearance was during a video recording of a conversation made during Half-Life 2, where he mentions a "host body". After seeing Breen on the monitor, Alyx is surprised, questioning how it is possible, but then relieved when she realizes that it's an old recording - apparently she believes that Breen is dead.

Half-Life 2: Episode Two

Breen did not appear in person in Episode Two, although his face flashes on a view screen briefly three times during the G-man's speech during the chapter "This Vortal Coil". The image appears to be timed to the points where the G-Man says, "when I plucked her [Alyx] from Black Mesa...", "I acted in the face of objections", and "I have learned to ignore such naysayers" who questioned his retrieval of Alyx from Black Mesa.


Doctor Breen uses video screens, like this one in the train station, to talk to the citizens of City 17, and, in later stages of the game, to Gordon directly.

Throughout City 17, Doctor Breen is frequently seen and heard making Breencasts — city-wide video broadcasts which he uses to speak directly to citizens and Combine forces. Breencasts consist of anything from the doctor addressing citizens' concerns, to an outlet for pro-Combine propaganda. In both, Breen refers to the Combine as the "Universal Union" or "Our Benefactors," never using the term "Combine" except in attempts to mock the term. However, when relaxed and not in front of the public, even he uses the term.

One such Breencast is as follows, as he addresses Gordon Freeman:

This last Breencast has the Administrator pleading with Freeman to end his quest to bring down the Citadel. He also displays his fearfulness and disappointment with the Combine, who are suspicious of his motives. Dr. Breen addresses Freeman in a similar way later on inside the Citadel, although it is unknown whether he is still broadcasting to the rest of City 17 at this point.

As briefly stated earlier, Dr. Breen never uses the term "Combine" in his formal broadcasts, and criticizes those who do. For example, shortly after the "Anticitizen One" chapter begins, a Breencast can be heard on a television set in the area where hopper mines are first encountered, in which Dr. Breen says, "...And only the universal union that small minds call 'The Combine' can carry us there." However, when Gordon is taken to Breen's office in the Citadel, in which Eli Vance is being held prisoner, Breen says, "Having both of you in my keeping ensures I can dictate the terms of any bargain I care to make with the Combine."

Some citizens apparently enjoyed some of the Breencasts — in Episode One, one citizen can be heard saying to another; "I don't miss Dr. Breen, but I do miss his show. Remember when he had the jugglers on?" This line may be a possible reference to parody webcomic Concerned: The Half-Life and Death of Gordon Frohman. However, the comic's author disagreed:

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