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Jafar says: Read my lips and come to grips with the reality!

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Some believe the fate of our world is inflexible. My employers disagree. They authorize me to nudge things in a particular direction from time to time.
~ The G-Man about his employers
That’s why I’m here, Mr. Freeman. I have recommended your services to my employers, and they have authorized me to offer you a job. They agree with me that you have limitless potential.
~ The G-Man, expressing the Employers' great interest in Gordon Freeman

The Employers are the overarching antagonists of the entire Half-Life franchise. They are a mysterious and enigmatic omniscient collective at war with the Combine Empire, and the superiors of the G-Man.

Out of their own self-interest, they have instigated and are responsible for the entire events of the Half-Life continuity so far, having indirectly allowed the Combine to subjugate Earth after instigating the Black Mesa Incident.

For much of the franchise, they play the role of overseers (represented by the G-Man), watching over several protagonist as the series progresses, including Dr. Gordon Freeman, Corporal Adrian Shepherd and Alyx Vance.

Whilst the G-Man has carried out orders for his Employers such as triggering the Black Mesa Incident and employing Gordon Freeman, he has also overruled some of their orders several times. This includes saving an infant Alyx Vance during the Black Mesa Incident despite his employers objections, and then fighting them for sparing the life of Adrian Shephard and instead placing him in detainment.

Trivia

  • Although the Half-Life games imply the G-Man (under the orders of his employers) drew the Combine to earth, according to writer Marc Laidlaw the Combine already had their sights on earth for an unspecified amount of time. It is likely the G-Man's actions at Black Mesa just sped up the process and allowed the Combine access to the earth dimension through Xen.
  • Even though the Employers have yet to make any proper appearances in the Half-Life series, they have been depicted in fan-works based on Half-Life, although some of these are comical stories rather than serious. In the webcomic Concerned: The Half-Life and Death of Gordon Frohman, a three-part special strip shows two lookalike G-Men working as field agents, presumably also serving the Employers. In the machinima The G-Man Squad, a group of G-Men are dispatched to Black Mesa by a mysterious group to avert the Black Mesa Incident (unlike the canon where the employers order it), but the G-Man Squad fail. In the comical parody web series Gorgeous Freeman, G-Man is shown meeting a mysterious group that are likely his employers (with the scene parodying SPECTRE from James Bond).

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Half-Life
Half-Life: Nihilanth | Zombies | Hazardous Environment Combat Unit | G-Man | Employers

Half-Life: Opposing Force: Gene Worm | Race X | Black Operatives | United States Government | G-Man | Employers

Half-Life 2: Wallace Breen | The Combine | Combine Advisors | Overwatch Elite | Combine Overwatch | Civil Protection | Stalkers | Zombies

Half-Life 2: Episode Two: Combine Advisors | Barn Advisor | The Combine | Zombies

Half-Life: Alyx: G-Man | Combine Overwatch | Zombies | Jeff | Scientist | Combine Advisors | Employers

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