(European Union)
(European Union)

The last time a feature-length Half-Life game came out, John Kerry had just lost a bid for the White House. We were mired in two wars we didn't know how to end. NASA's newest Mars rover was a little guy called Opportunity.

Fans have been waiting almost a decade for another adventure with franchise protagonist Gordon Freeman.

Here's a sign — albeit a small one — that the drought may soon be over: Valve has filed for a European trademark on Half-Life 3. That's it in the screencap above. For more, run a search on the European Union's database.

There have been false starts before, of course. As far back as 1999, Valve snapped up the domain half-life3.com. It's been dormant ever since, redirecting people to a promotional page for the Orange Box, which itself debuted in 2007. But at the very least, this latest development gives fans a little more cause for hope.