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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.

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 administrator of the Black Mesa Research Facility in New Mexico at the time of the Black Mesa Incident, caused by a dimensional rift between Earth and another alien world. Shortly after Black Mesa's destruction, the earth was invaded by a force known as the Combine, and Wallace managed earth's surrender, and he was awarded power by the Combine, becoming Earth's Administrator and Combine representative. However, he was merely just a puppet and a face for the higher forces in the organization.

He was voiced by the late Robert Culp.

Biography

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.
20 years into the future after the Black Mesa Incident, Breen operates in City 17, a combine-occupied city located somewhere in Eastern Europe. Breen has fortified himself above ground in the Citadel, where he has 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.

He is alerted by the arrival of Gordon Freeman in City 17, 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 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, the platform Breen was standing on collapsed when Gordon destroyed the teleporter, 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 its 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. Going by Breen's remarks near the end of Half-life 2, it is implied more than ever that Breen was aware of the G-Man and his employers.

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.

Other Appearances

Wallace Breen has appeared in other Half-Life 2 mods and spin-off webcomics.

BreenGrub

A cryptic Twitter account ran by Half-Life writer Marc Laidlaw centers around Wallace Breen, who is apparently now 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.

Dayhard

See Wallace Breen (Dayhard).

Nicknamed "The Boss" a slightly younger looking Breen acts as the main antagonist in this comedic non-canon prequel to Half-Life 2.

Black Mesa

In the source remake of the original Half-Life, 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.

The Citizen

Breen appears in the first episode of the Half-Life 2 mod The Citizen released in 2008, which takes place shortly before Gordon Freeman's arrival in City 17. Wallace Breen is targeted by the Resistance, however he escapes his near assassination to safety.

Concerned: The Half-Life and Death of Gordon Frohman

Wallace makes an appearance in this webcomic by Christopher C Livington, in which the main protagonist Gordon Frohman shows admiration towards Breen and the Combine and even sends him letters. Near the end of the webcomic, Gordon Frohman makes unsuccessful attempts to stop Gordon Freeman from killing Breen, but he gets defeated regardless.

It is shown in the webcomic that Breen had survived the explosion on top of the citadel by Freeman. Back on the streets of City 17, Breen views the chaos caused by the Resistance and plans to move to City 18. However Gordon Frohman falls from the sky and on top of Breen, killing him in the process. It is implied that Breen had faced similar uprisings in the previous 16 different cities.

Gorgeous Freeman

See Wallace Breen (Gorgeous Freeman)

Breen is the main antagonist of the comedic web series Gorgeous Freeman, where he is portrayed as a perverted tyrant with an obsession with Gorgeous Freeman's ass and wants it for himself.

Gallery

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

  • Wallace Breen's role in Half-Life 2 marks distinctive similarities with Big Brother from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. The most glaring similarity is that they are both characters who represent oppression and fascism. 
    • They are both characters who retain a particularly high ranking authority in their respective totalitarian governments. They both represent abusive dictatorships which have amassed total and absolute control over the civilian population where they remain seated in power.
    • Big Brother is the director of the Oceania state amongst the English Socialism party, while Breen is the human representative of the Combine, which is the governing force in City 17.
    • Both promote their propaganda through televised screens, and are in constant surveillance of the citizens in which they rule over. This is alternatively known as the Big Brother concept.
    • Additionally, in the 2010 Valve advertisement Free Yourself, which was promoting Half-Life 2 for OS X - which in itself is a spoof of an American 1984 Apple Macintosh advertisement, heavily influenced by the Nineteen-Eighty Four narrative - Breen's role in the advertisement is directly borrowed from Big Brother's role in the Apple advertisement.
  • 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, fans believed that the administrator in Half-Life 1 was the G-Man. This was before Valve created Wallace Breen for Half-Life 2, which made it clear the mysterious unseen Administrator from Half-Life 1 and the G-Man where completely different entities.
  • 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 clear that the high ranking Combine officials the Advisors are the true masterminds, thus placing Wallace Breen as the secondary antagonist of the storyline as he merely serves as a pawn.

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