Youtube user SkipPrime has created this haunting music video, syncing the bleak visuals of Half-Life 2, using 100% in-game footage, to the apocalyptic tones of Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s “The Dead Flag Blues.”
According to Kotaku, SkipPrime “spent over 100 hours,” putting together this well-crafted montage.
The ominous song is a perfect compliment to the hopeless struggle of humans in City 17. The speaker describes a futuristic dystopia, where a corrupt government barely controls the chaos by drugging its citizens, teetering on the end of the world.
“We’re trapped in the belly of this horrible machine. And the machine is bleeding to death.”
The narration of “The Dead Flag Blues” is actually taken from an unfinished screenplay of Efrim Menuck, the band’s guitarist. Like a distorted reflection, it mirrors the oppressed atmosphere of Half-Life 2, where humanity has been easily conquered by an alien empire known only as the Combine.
Enslaved, sterilized, and left to watch as the world around them burns, they’ve taken up a seemingly hopeless rebellion where each day the body count climbs.
My favorite part of the video comes in at around 2:07. The song’s wounded narration and rising strings fade into pale white light, letting the game’s audio take the reigns.
Familiar sound effects step above a subdued, mournful melody. The beeps of alien technology, the menacing stomp of something impossibly large and mean, the panicked pleas from somewhere far away.
Then, the door is kicked open, and the distinct, metallic screeching of barely audible Overwatch radio chatter comes to a scarring high.
Things begin to look up from there, however, with the sight of your trusty HEV suit and the surprised faces of old friends and new allies. The tempo picks up as bloody triumph after bloody triumph flies past.
You’re even greeted by the warm smile of an old friend, accompanied by a soft guitar.
But make no mistake. The road ahead is dark and long.
“For sure, it’s the valley of death.”