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Adrian Shephard
Half-Life series series
First appearance Half-Life: Opposing Force

Corporal Adrian Shephard is the silent player character and protagonist in Half-Life: Opposing Force, the first expansion pack, by Gearbox Software, for the first-person shooter computer game Half-Life.



Shephard, a 22-year old U.S. Marine Corporal assigned to the Hazardous Environment Combat Unit (HECU) from the fictional Santego Military Base in Arizona, is one of the personnel sent into the Black Mesa Research Facility to kill the aliens and later silence the witnesses, especially a scientist named Gordon Freeman, the player character in the original game. However, during the events subsequent to the "Resonance Cascade", Adrian finds himself separated from his unit and fighting for his life.

Unlike the other Marines, he works with the increasingly distrustful scientists and guards in order to make it out of Black Mesa alive. This is likely because he never received the orders to kill them, as his Osprey was shot down before his commander could inform the squad of their mission. Shephard and Freeman do cross paths during the game, but at that point Shephard is merely an observer to a climactic event from the original game. He never fights alongside or against Gordon Freeman. The G-Man appears to take an interest in Shephard's movements, even before the Black Mesa Incident. As early as three months prior, Shephard spots the G-Man during the boot camp training mission. Shephard deactivates the thermonuclear warhead brought in by the Black Ops, but the G-Man reactivates it and Black Mesa is destroyed. In the end, the G-Man reveals that he has successfully argued for Shephard's life, detaining him in some unknown void. The G-Man expresses a degree of respect for Shephard, offering praise for his ability to "adapt and survive against all odds" which "rather reminds [the G-Man] of [himself]." (although he never says it to Freeman, who demonstrates similar capabilities).

Shephard has not been seen in Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode One or Half-Life 2: Episode Two but has, however, retained a large number of fans among players of the game. Gabe Newell has hinted that he may one day return.[1] When asked by Eurogamer when that day will be, Doug Lombardi said that, although Valve has no secret Shephard project in the works at the moment, they would like to use Shephard again in the future. He added that Shephard had resonated well with players and with Valve when they heard the pitch for Opposing Force.[2]

Some had thought that Shephard might be the protagonist for Valve's game, Portal due to the main weapon, the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device (ASHPD), bearing the initials A.S.H.P.D. - Adrian Shephard. However, Doug Lombardi remarked that this was a 'total freak coincidence' and that Shephard would not appear in the game.[3]

As Shephard witnesses Gordon Freeman's transportation to Xen, the player has the option to follow him through the teleporter before it collapses. However, if this happens, Shephard will find himself teleported to a location in Xen several meters away from Gordon and then fall through space. Doing so will produce the message: "Evaluation terminated: Subject attempted to create a temporal paradox."

Powered Combat Vest

Shephard's most critical piece of equipment is the PCV. It is a vest worn over the military fatigues. It gives the user protection from certain environmental hazards, as well as contains an onboard medical computer that reacts to changes in the user's condition. A HUD provides medical and weaponry information, while the primary component of the PCV is an electrically hardened reactive armor. Bearing many similarities and the compatibility with HEV suit chargers imply that the PCV is basically a stripped-down military version of the HEV suit. It isn't unique to Shephard: all members of HECU are equipped with one, which explains their unusual toughness against firearms in Half-Life and Blue Shift.

Shephard's journal entries

In both the manuals of Opposing Force[4] and Half-Life: Blue Shift[5] there are several journal entries made by Adrian Shephard prior to the Black Mesa Incident, giving some insight in developments before the disaster.

  • "March 3 - Another typically hellish day at base camp. I'll be glad when this is over and I can finally can get assigned a mission. There has been this really weird civvie spotted at the base. Rumor is he's from some government branch looking to recruit; others say he's with some secret research group. I would jump at the chance to join. It would be cool just for the change and the adventure."
  • "March 7 - I finally saw the government guy today. I am not sure he is a g-man, but he was wearing a really uptight suit and carrying a briefcase. He looked more like a lawyer or insurance agent to me. I did notice him checking me out. Several times throughout the day I spotted him just watching me during training. I wonder what he's up to..."
  • "March 9 - For weeks our drills have been the same crap day after day. Today we assemble for the morning run and our drill instructor tells us we have one week to become experts at indoor strategic combat. We will be spending every day this week at the combat simulation facility. As far as I know this a specialized training not taught in boot camp. What I want to know is if this is to test our ability to adapt or if we are being readied for a specific mission? Time will tell..."
  • "March 12 - The rumors have been flying since our indoor combat training began. Most of my peers are convinced that we are being primed for a mission. No one can agree on what the mission is. I have heard the name Black Mesa Facility thrown around a lot, but I have no information about the place. The rumors are that some top-secret research is going on there. Doesn't sound too exciting to me..."
  • "March 15 - The rumor has been confirmed. We are being trained for a mission at the Black Mesa Facility. All I know is that the place is being used by scientists who are doing some kind of new research. I can't imagine what we would be needed for. We were told today to be ready in case it happens tomorrow. I don't know what "it" is, but the whole thing is a little strange. I kind of hope it doesn't happen; the mission doesn't seem to have much excitement potential. I'd rather hold out for something with more likelihood of combat."

References in other games

  • At the end of the chapter "Duty Calls" in Half-Life: Blue Shift, Barney Calhoun overhears two soldiers who are busy disposing of corpses down a sewer. One of them complains about Shephard and his team being late.
  • In the video game F.E.A.R., the Spec Ops leader and radio dispatcher is named A. Shepherd.
  • While escaping the test labs in Portal (video game), there is a keyboard in a room overlooking a test room. The keyboard had several keys that are different colors; these letters are E, R, I, P, A, S, D, H and N. All of these letters can be used to spell Adrian Shephard.

See also

  • Half-Life: Opposing Force


  1. "Adrian Shepard return?". Forums. 2006-03-03. Retrieved 2006-11-28. 
  2. "Valve clears up Adrian Shephard speculation". EuroGamer. 2007-06-03. Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  3. "Gabe Newell denies possibility of Shephard appearing in Portal". EuroGamer. 2007-06-03. Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  4. Sweeney, Cheryl (1999). Half-Life Opposing Force: instruction manual. Gearbox Software. 
  5. Luna, Eli (2001). Half-Life Blue Shift: instruction manual. Gearbox Software. 
  • Half-Life: Opposing Force (PC), Gearbox Software, 1999.

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