The similarities aren't stark, but they remind me about each other so much.

Yuggoth... is a strange dark orb at the very rim of our solar system... There are mighty cities on Yuggoth—great tiers of terraced towers built of black stone... The sun shines there no brighter than a star, but the beings need no light. They have other subtler senses, and put no windows in their great houses and temples... The black rivers of pitch that flow under those mysterious cyclopean bridges—things built by some elder race extinct and forgotten before the beings came to Yuggoth from the ultimate voids—ought to be enough to make any man a Dante or Poe if he can keep sane long enough to tell what he has seen... —H. P. Lovecraft, "The Whisperer in Darkness"

Yuggoth and Xen remind of each other so much, just wondered if there was an actual link.

I knew this strange, grey world was not my own,
But Yuggoth, past the starry void...

1 Answer 1


In a 2010 interview with Marc Laidlaw (a science-fiction writer who worked on Half-Life, its expansions, and Half-Life 2), he agreed that Lovecraft had some influence on the Half-Life series, especially with regards to Lovecraft's philosophy of cosmicism- that is, that mankind is simply a tiny, insignificant blip when compared to the dark mysteries of the universe at large. In one of his responses:

The Lovecraftian influence is buried pretty deep in Half-Life—perhaps you can spot it in the sense we try to create of mankind being a tiny speck in a vast cosmos. The most Lovecraftian passage is probably Dr. Breen’s speech at the end of Half-Life 2, when he is trying to entice Eli with glimpses of the wonders he has been shown by the Combine. This sort of teasing view of things beyond imagining is one of Lovecraft’s techniques, on display most clearly in “The Whisperer in Darkness.”

You can read the interview here.

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    There's something of a lineage here. Valve licensed the Quake engine for Half Life 1, Quake was indisputably based on (or at least informed by) Lovecraft's work (witness Shub-Niggurath, and also the fact that one of it's designers - Sandy Petersen - also designed the original Call of Cthulhu RPG), so Valve would certainly have been aware of this and possibly susceptible to influence.
    – user8719
    Feb 19, 2013 at 19:02
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    @mh01 Amazing info! I think Lovecraft, despite being overlooked in his day, has percolated so many films and books that he's entered our subconscious, despite the fact still nobody really knows about him!
    – Starkers
    Mar 19, 2013 at 11:50
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    Damn Cthulhu Dogs...
    – Zibbobz
    Apr 15, 2014 at 13:18

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