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I'd like to take a moment to address you directly, Dr. Freeman. Yes. I'm talking to you, the so-called One Free Man. I have a question for you. How could you have thrown it all away? It staggers the mind. A man of science with the ability to sway reactionary and fearful minds toward the truth, choosing instead to embark on a path of ignorance and decay. Make no mistake, Dr. Freeman. This is not a scientific revolution you have sparked… this is death and finality. You have plunged humanity into freefall.
~ Wallace Breen
I don't know what you can possibly hope to achieve... apart from your own annihilation.
~ Breen leaves Gordon Freeman to die in the Dark Fusion Reactor.

Dr. Wallace Breen is a character in the Half-Life franchise, mentioned in passing as the Administrator during the events of the original Half-Life and its expansions, before appearing as the main antagonist in the sequel Half-Life 2.

Wallace Breen was the former administrator of Black Mesa prior to the Black Mesa Incident and the Seven Hour War. Following the Combine's subjugation of Earth, Wallace managed Earth's surrender in exchange for immunity from the Combine, but at the cost of human enslavement.

He was voiced by the late Robert Culp.

Biography

Background

Black Mesa Incident

SectorC

The Black Mesa Anomalous Materials team. It is highly inferred that Breen is the crossed-out scientist in the middle.

Wallace Breen was the administrator of the Black Mesa Research Facility in New Mexico, and frequently collaborated with the Anomalous Materials research team in Sector C. Here, Breen worked alongside several colleagues, including Isaac Kleiner, Eli Vance and Gordon Freeman, all of which would later oppose him. It is hinted that Breen in some part was responsible for the Incident, as he had supplied the sample for the Anti-Mass Spectrometer; Xen crystals, found next to many deceased Survey Team members, indicating a great human cost and the "lengths" he had to take to find them. The G-Man, also present at Black Mesa, is revealed to have been stealing one of the crystals, revealing a connection between him and Breen.

Earth's Administrator

Following the incident, after the Seven-Hour War, Breen negotiated an agreement with the invasive force, the Combine, agreeing in exchange for immunity to be Earth's administrator and the Combine's human representative at the expense of humanity's freedom, although in actuality the Combine were using him as a puppet and a face for the higher forces in the organization. Breen had been criticised for their action, although he defended himself.

Breen was seated in power in City 17, a Combine-occupied city in Eastern Europe, to which he ruled with complete control over it's citizens, enforcing an oppressive fascist government. Breen had fortified himself above ground in the Citadel, where he had set his primary base of operations establishing a communication with the Combine. It is implied that Breen helped spread Combine propaganda across City 17, issuing Breencasts which establish a second connection between Breen and the citizens of City 17. This is seen in various points of City 17, prominently in the train station, where Breen is welcoming the citizens.

By the events of Half-Life: Alyx (although never making a direct appearance), Breen continued to be seated in power, and continued to oversee Combine operations in City 17. Later, according to Breen's remarks in the final chapter Dark Energy in Half-Life 2, it is implied more than ever that Breen was aware of the G-Man and his employers. It is strongly inferred due to the Scientist's knowledge of the G-Man, that Breen oversaw the G-Man's imprisonment in the Vault above the Quarantine Zone, and knew what he was capable of.

Half-Life 2

Chapter 1: Point Insertion

Welcome. Welcome to City 17. You have chosen, or been chosen, to relocate to one of our finest remaining urban centers. I thought so much of City 17 that I elected to establish my Administration here, in the Citadel so thoughtfully provided by our benefactors. I have been proud to call City 17 my home. And so, whether you are here to stay, or passing through on your way to parts unknown, welcome to City 17. It's safer here.
~ One of Wallace Breen's Breencasts.
Breen is first seen in the prologue welcoming newly arrived citizens to City 17 in one of his many Breencasts, commenting that "It's safer" in the apparent capital city of Earth.

Chapter 2: "A Red Letter Day"

Following Gordon Freeman's deployment into City 17, Breen is alerted by his arrival, and his past as a scientist who was a part of the test which caused the Black Mesa Incident. Breen and Freeman meet in the flesh when the latter's teleporter malfunctions, accidentally transporting him to Breen's office. Breen recognized Freeman in the encounter, issuing a manhunt in the slums of City 17.

Chapter 4: Water Hazard

To be added

Chapter 9: Nova Prospekt

To be added

Chapter 9a: Entanglement

To be added

Chapter 11: "Follow Freeman!"

To be added

Chapter 12: Our Benefactors

To be added

Chapter 13: Dark Energy

Tell me, Dr. Freeman, if you can. You have destroyed so much. What is it, exactly, that you have created? Can you name even one thing? I thought not.
~ Wallace Breen
Breen manages to capture Gordon Freeman who willingly delivers himself to Breen's office in his headquarters the citadel, where he is holding Eli Vance hostage and also his daughter Alyx. He tries to make a deal with Gordon Freeman, and shows signs he is aware of Freeman's control by the mysterious G-Man. But Breen's agent Judith Mossman turns on him and frees Gordon along with Alyx and Eli. Breen attempts to escape using a teleporter to the combine world. Realizing that he cannot survive in the Combine world's atmosphere, he reluctantly agrees to have his mind placed in a host body, which is a Combine Advisor, a disgusting slug creature and the apparent rulers of the Combine. But before he could escape through a Combine teleporter, the platform Breen was standing on collapsed when Gordon destroyed the teleporter in a massive explosion, dropping Breen down the Citadel to his presumed death.

Half-Life 2 - Episodes One & Two

Breen appears in Episode One, first in the opening in a flashback/ dream sequence questioning Gordon via video screens, and then later on in a pre-recorded message talking with the combine adviser about him being placed in a host body. When Alyx first sees this footage she first believes Breen survived, until realizing that it is just an old recording. Alyx confirms Breen's fate prior to the teleporter explosion, that he did indeed fall off the Citadel.

In Episode Two when The G-Man has his "heart to heart" with Gordon Freeman and at the moment he mentions "naysayers" against him rescuing Alyx Vance from Black Mesa, Breen's face briefly flashes up on a screen behind him.

Half-Life 2: Episode Three

In a leaked draft by Marc Laidlaw concerning the unreleased game, it is revealed that early memories of Breen was transferred into the body of a Combine Advisor, which is confronted by Freeman and Alyx. Breen is shown to be in misery over his existence and asks to be killed, a choice which was apparently up to the player to carry out.

Quote

Speeches

Collaboration Speech

It has come to my attention that some have lately called me a collaborator, as if such a term were shameful. I ask you, what greater endeavor exists than that of collaboration? In our current unparalleled enterprise, refusal to collaborate is simply a refusal to grow--an insistence on suicide, if you will.
Did the lungfish refuse to breathe air? It did not. It crept forth boldly while its brethren remained in the blackest ocean abyss, with lidless eyes forever staring at the dark, ignorant and doomed despite their eternal vigilance. Would we model ourselves on the trilobite? Are all the accomplishments of humanity fated to be nothing more than a layer of broken plastic shards thinly strewn across a fossil bed, sandwiched between the Burgess shale and an eon's worth of mud?
In order to be true to our nature, and our destiny, we must aspire to greater things. We have outgrown our cradle. It is futile to cry for mother's milk, when our true sustenance awaits us among the stars. And only the universal union that small minds call 'The Combine' can carry us there.
Therefore I say, yes, I am a collaborator. We must all collaborate, willingly, eagerly, if we expect to reap the benefits of unification. And reap we shall.

Gordon Freeman Speech

We now have direct confirmation of a disruptor in our midst, one who has acquired an almost messianic reputation in the minds of certain citizens. His figure is synonymous with the darkest urges of instinct, ignorance and decay. Some of the worst excesses of the Black Mesa Incident have been laid directly at his feet. And yet unsophisticated minds continue to imbue him with romantic power, giving him such dangerous poetic labels as the One Free Man, the Opener of the Way.
Let me remind all citizens of the dangers of magical thinking. We have scarcely begun to climb from the dark pit of our species' evolution. Let us not slide backward into oblivion, just as we have finally begun to see the light. If you see this so-called Free Man, report him. Civic deeds do not go unrewarded. And contrariwise, complicity with his cause will not go unpunished.

Addressing the Overwatch

I have been asked to say a few words to the transhuman arm of Sector Seventeen Overwatch, concerning recent successes in containing members of the resistance Science Team.
Let me say up front that I regret having to temper my heartfelt congratulations with a strong measure of disappointment. But I wouldn't be doing my duty as your Administrator if I didn't pass along the message I have received from Our Benefactors.
The capture of Eli Vance is an event of major significance, make no mistake. And while it's true that conceivably we could have taken him at almost any time in the last several years, the manner of his capture may prove to have unexpected benefits. It cannot have gone unnoticed by all resistance members that Doctor Vance's capture coincided with the act of giving shelter to Gordon Freeman. This might cause other resistance members to think twice before harbouring Doctor Freeman. It might cause them to question his allegiance; even prompt some to turn him out, or turn him over to our cause. However, we cannot count on such developments. Doctor Freeman's reputation is such that other desperate renegades are likely to grant him a great deal of license in the spirit of spreading general chaos and terror.
This brings me to the one note of disappointment I must echo from our Benefactors. Obviously I am not on the ground to closely command or second-guess the dedicated forces of the Overwatch, but this does not mean I can shirk responsibility for recent lapses and even outright failures on their part. I have been severely questioned about these shortcomings, and now must put the question to you: How could one man have slipped through your force's fingers time and time again? How is it possible? This is not some agent provocateur or highly trained assassin we are discussing. Gordon Freeman is a theoretical physicist who had hardly earned the distinction of his Ph.D. at the time of the Black Mesa Incident. I have good reason to believe that in the intervening years, he was in a state that precluded further development of covert skills. The man you have consistently failed to slow, let alone capture, is by all standards simply that--an ordinary man. How can you have failed to apprehend him?
Well...I will leave the upbraiding for another time, to the extent it proves necessary. Now is the moment to redeem yourselves. If the transhuman forces are to prove themselves an indispensable augmentation to the Combine Overwatch, they will have to earn the privilege. I'm sure I don't have to remind you that the alternative, if you can call it that, is total extinction - in union with all the other unworthy branches of the species. Let's not allow it to come to that. I have done my best to convince Our Benefactors that you are the finest the species has to offer. So far they have accepted my argument, but without concrete evidence to back it up, my words sound increasingly hollow even to me. The burden of proof is on you. As is the consequence of failure. I'll just leave it at that.

Addressing Gordon Freeman

I'd like to take a moment to address you directly, Dr. Freeman. Yes. I'm talking to you, the so-called One Free Man. I have a question for you. How could you have thrown it all away? It staggers the mind. A man of science, with the ability to sway reactionary and fearful minds toward the truth, choosing instead to embark on a path of ignorance and decay. Make no mistake, Dr. Freeman. This is not a scientific revolution you have sparked...this is death and finality. You have plunged humanity into freefall. Even if you offered your surrender now, I cannot guarantee that Our Benefactors would accept it. At the moment, I fear they have begun to look upon even me with suspicion. So much for serving as humanity's representative.
Help me win back their trust, Dr. Freeman. Surrender while you still can. Help ensure that humanity's trust in you is not misguided. Do what is right, Dr. Freeman. Serve mankind.

Dialogue

Dark Energy

Well, if it isn't Gordon Freeman, at last.
~ Wallace Breen finally meeting Gordon Freeman.
You have my gratitude, Doctor. First you lead me straight to the doorstep of my oldest friend and then you deliver yourself. If I'd known you were going come straight up to my office, I wouldn't have bothered hunting you in the first place. Having both of you in my keeping ensures I can dictate the terms of any bargain I care to make with the Combine.
Fortunately, the resistance has shown it is willing to accept a new leader. And this one has proven to be a fine pawn for those who control him. How about it, Dr. Freeman? Did you realize your contract was open to the highest bidder?
~ Wallace Breen reveals his knowledge of the G-Man and his Employers.
Dr. Freeman. You really shouldn't be out there. At the moment of synapse, as I teleport, this chamber will be bathed in deadly particles that have yet to be named by human science. Perhaps when I have the leisure to do the work myself, I'll name one after you. That way you won't be completely forgotten.
~ Breen taunting Gordon.
When the singularity collapses, I will be far away from here. In another universe, as a matter of fact. You, on the other hand, will be destroyed in every way it is possible to be destroyed-and even in some which are essentially impossible.
~ Breen explains his plans after leaving Gordon to die.
The portal destination is untenable. Surely you can set the relay elsewhere. There's no way I can survive in that environment. A host body? You must be joking, I can't possibly— Oh all right, damn it, if that's what it takes! Just hurry, he's right behind me! Shit!
~ Breen desperately agreeing to have his consciousness transferred into a Combine Advisor.
Go back, Freeman, you have no idea what you're doing! You don't know what you'll unleash! You could bring down this whole Citadel! Think, man, think - of the people below! You need me!
~ Wallace Breen's last words.

Gallery

Half-Life 2

Half-Life: Alyx

Trivia

Breen 1984 spoof

Breen, pictured in the 2010 promotional advertisement of Half-Life 2, which parodies Nineteen Eighty-Four and represents Breen's similarities to Big Brother

  • Breen was originally going to be known as the "Consul", as seen in the Half-Life 2 behind the scenes book "Raising the Bar".
  • Originally, the enigmatic G-Man was intended to be the Black Mesa administrator who had been overseeing the experiments. A hidden audio file confirms this. But by Half-Life 2, Valve had changed this and created Wallace Breen and established him as being the unseen administrator for Half-Life 1, making him and G-Man separate characters.
  • In the Half-Life 2: Episode One and The Orange Box prima guide, Breen's character profile states his current whereabouts are unknown since he was stopped by Gordon Freeman on the Citadel, possibly hinting he survived. However it is not known if Valve approves of this or may change their mind down the line.
  • Whilst he appears to be the main antagonist of Half-Life 2, the episodic sequels make it clear that Breen is just a pawn to the de-facto leaders of the Combine, the Advisors.
  • A cryptic Twitter account named BreenGrub was run by Half-Life writer Marc Laidlaw centering around Wallace Breen, who is apparently a Combine Advisor (a plot point which was possibly going to be explored in Episode Three). The account hasn't been active since 2014, and its canonically to the Half-Life lore is up to debate.
  • Wallace Breen has appeared in other Half-Life 2 mods and spin-off webcomics, including Dayhard, Gorgeous Freeman The Citizen and Concerned: The Half-Life and Death of Gordon Freeman.
  • In the acclaimed third-party remake Black Mesa, Breen is still indirectly referred to as the Administrator by several scientists throughout the game and like the original goes unseen by the player. In an jokey Easter Egg that can be found by the player, a sheet of paper on a board by Breen details his plans to takeover the world (although done in a childish way with drawings and misspellings), which involves befriending aliens and then building his own tower. This serves as a humorous foreshadowing to his actions in Half-Life 2.
  • An updated model for Wallace Breen exists in the files of Half-Life: Alyx. In an early build he was originally going to appear, in which a propaganda video had him defend the Combine and depicted archived footage of him signing the peace treaty resulting in the Combine enslaving earth and appointing him as administrator. The only use the new model had was Breen's depiction in a magazine, which can be found as an Easter Egg in the game.

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