Video Game Theater – Escape from City 17

Half-Life: Escape from City 17 is a series of short fan films created by the Purchase Brothers, integrated by David and Ian Purchase. The Canadian duo is well-known for directing commercials but their passion for Half-Life 2 was so strong that they decided to develop a series of short films based on Valve’s popular title.

The first part, released on February 13, 2009, was quite successful, receiving millions of views. Part One is set almost at the end of Half-Life 2: Episode One right before the Combine Citadel explodes, and it shows two male members of the Resistance as they frantically try to get out of the city.

The second installment was released on August 24, 2011 and it represented the apparent conclusion to the series. Fortunately, this long-awaited sequel is longer than the first part making up for the fact that fans had to wait more than two years for its official release. I won’t provide any additional details about the story but let me just tell you that it’s just outstanding. The plot is masterfully told, making you care about the characters and to what eventually happens to them. Part Two keeps building tension until it reaches high and unexpected levels of emotional poignancy, engaging you even more in the story. In conclusion, this short manages to do in merely 15 minutes, what other Hollywood directors can’t in an hour and a half.

Allegedly, both films were entirely produced with a budget of C$500. Although the Purchase Brothers already had the necessary equipment and software from previous projects, this still is quite impressive, especially if we take into account the superb quality the short films have.

Let’s cross our fingers for Part Three!


Here’s Escape from City 17 Part One:

Here’s Escape from City 17 Part Two:


Additional Information:

Julia Tourianski
David Purchase
Derek Chan
Ian Purchase