Source: A video of Portal 2 artificial intelligence Wheatley during Saturday's Spike TV Video Game Awards.
What we heard: Tin foil hats were in no short supply this morning, as speculation ran rampant as to whether Valve issued its first tease for Half-Life 3 at the VGAs over the weekend. The particulars of this speculation can be found in a thread on Steam's message boards, with theories heavily relying on a half-speed YouTube video of Wheatley's speech.
The thrust of the speculation surrounds a line of text at the top of the video, which is ostensibly written in Greek. The translation for this text, according to Steam's message boards, is "OBSERVATION SATELLITE "LANTHANUM.'"
Lanthanum in particular has been interpreted as a loaded word. Commenters on the post pointed out that lanthanum comes from a Greek word that translates to "to lie hidden." (Google Translate suggests "latent.") The word is also significant, as it begins with a lambda symbol in Greek. That symbol, of course, is iconic to the Half-Life franchise.
And then there's the science. Lanthanum has an atomic number of 57, a commenter pointed out, and as is well known, this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo falls between June 5 and June 7. What's more, the element is in group three of the periodic table. The number three is also significant when Wheatley reads off his coordinates at the end of the clip: "one, one, one."
The official story: Unfortunately, it would appear as if all of the speculation is for not. When asked by GameSpot whether people were reading too much into the video, a Valve representative responded with a simple, "Yep."
Bogus or not bogus?: Probably bogus, unless Valve is getting very cute with its wording. After all, it could be the case that the Greek teases are correct, but that whole periodic table theory business is nonsense.