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 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.