Eli Vance

Eli Vance


Vance in Half-Life
Vance in Half-Life

Dr. Eli Vance is first seen and referred to by name in Valve Software’s Half-Life 2 . It is often claimed by fans of the Half-Life franchise that he is also seen in Half-Life, though he is never referred to by name anywhere in the game or in any of its expansions ( Blue Shift, Opposing Force). However, it was established in Half-Life 2 that Dr. Vance was a part of a scientific team involving Gordon Freeman and other members of the Black Mesa Anomalous Materials department such as Dr. Issac Kleiner.

Dr. Vance is also the father of Alyx Vance, whom we know as the “sidekick” accompanying the Gordon throughout Half-Life 2 and its recent episodic installments. He is also the first human to successfully negotiate peace terms with the Vortigaunts, resulting in an alliance with the alien race.

Vance's Real-Life Base
Vance’s Real-Life Base

In comparison to Freeman, Dr. Vance is portrayed to be appropriately old, even though they were assumed to be of a similar age in Half-Life 1. This is due to Freeman being placed into temporal stasis by the G-Man during the period between the Black Mesa Incident and the events of Half-Life 2.
He is voiced in Half Life 2 and its episodes by popular character actor Robert Guillaume.


Half-Life 2

Eli Vance as he appears in Half-Life 2
Eli Vance as he appears in Half-Life 2

Before the events of Half-Life 2, Eli lost his leg to a bullsquid while helping Dr. Isaac Kleiner escape Black Mesa, and it now wearing a prosthesic leg.

By the time Gordon Freeman is let out of stasis by the G-man, he has founded Black Mesa East, a small research facility, and has a working teleportation device, at least until Lamaar the headcrab breaks it. Almost immediately after Gordon Freeman arrives at Black Mesa East, the facility is assaulted, and Eli Vance gets kidnapped by the Combine. He is taken to Nova Prospekt, a disused prison now used to make Stalkers and hold important prisoners.

His daughter Alyx and Gordon rescue him but at the last minute he is taken by the traitor Judith Mossman directly to the citadel, where he is interrogated by Wallace Breen, the representative of Earth for the combine, who tries to persuade him to “stop that rabble on the streets” – the rebellion sparked by Gordon Freeman. Eli, Alyx and Gordon are saved by Dr. Mossman who has a change of heart and rejoins the rebels. They both somehow escape from the Citadel, while Alyx and Gordon try to stop Doctor Breen.

Half-Life 2: Episode One

Eli is seen only briefly at the beginning of the game, telling Alyx and Gordon to get out of City 17. When he is told they aren’t even away from the Citadel yet he nearly faints and is concerned about their plan to go back into the Citadel.


Alyx Vance and her father, Eli Vance.
Alyx Vance and her father, Eli Vance.

Eli is working along with Dr. Kleiner and Dr. Magnusson at a disused missile silo in White Forest, on a rocket to neutralise the Combine superportal. Alyx and Gordon arrive at the facility with an important data packet holding 3 things – the code to neutralise the portal, a message from Dr. Mossman and hidden footage of an Aperture Science cargo ship, the Borealis, in the Arctic. He shows worry for Dr. Mossman, saying ‘we should never have let her go’.

On the discovery of the hidden footage he becomes angry and wants whatever is in there to be destroyed. Alyx tells him the message the G-man put in her head – “prepare for unforeseen consequences”. He is surprised, almost fainting, and asks Alyx to make him a cup of tea so he can talk to Gordon. Here, Eli tells Gordon that he knows about the G-man – our “mutual friend”. He says the message was whispered in his ear when the Black Mesa Incident happened. He is interrupted by the return of Alyx. After the rocket is launched he tells Gordon that “he couldn’t be prouder if you were my own son”, and says he will tell Gordon more about the G-man once Alyx and Gordon have destroyed the Borealis.

However as he goes to the helicopter to see Alyx and Gordon off, a Combine Advisor smashes through the window, pinning Gordon and Alyx to the wall with its telekinetic abilities. It grabs Eli, and Alyx watches, despite Eli’s cries of ‘don’t look’, as the Advisor violently kills Eli. Another Advisor grabs Alyx and is about to do the same to her, when Dog bursts through the roof and scares the Advisors away. Alyx sobs over her fathers dead body as the game fades to black.

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