Dr. Gordon Freeman is the main protagonist of the HλLF-LIFE™ series and a theoretical physicist who is forced to defend himself and the human race against hostile aliens and other enemies following the Black Mesa Incident.
Early Life and MIT
A native of Seattle, Washington, Freeman showed great interest and aptitude in the areas of quantum physics and relativity at a young age. His earliest heroes were Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking and Richard Feynman. At age 6, he even constructed a butane-powered tennis ball cannon.
While visiting the University of Innsbruck in the late 1990s, Freeman observed a series of seminal teleportation experiments conducted by the Institute for Experimental Physics. Practical applications for teleportation became his obsession, and he eventually attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in which Isaac Kleiner became his mentor. In 1997, he received his doctorate (Ph.D.) from MIT with a thesis paper entitled Observation of Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Entanglement on Supraquantum Structures by Induction through Nonlinear Transuranic Crystal of Extremely Long Wavelength (ELW) Pulse from Mode-Locked Source Array (essentially about the teleportation of matter through extremely dense elements).
Working at Black Mesa
Disappointed with the slow pace and poor funding of academic research (and with potential tenure a distant dream), Freeman looked for a job in the private sector. Incidentally, Kleiner had taken charge of a research project being conducted at the Black Mesa Research Facility, located somewhere in the New Mexico desert. He was looking for a few bright associates, and Gordon was his first choice, although Judith Mossman also applied for the position. Considering the source and amount of funds available to the Black Mesa labs, Gordon suspected that he would be involved in some sort of weapons research, but in the hopes that practical civilian applications would arise in areas of quantum computing and astrophysics, he accepted Kleiner's offer.
At the start of HλLF-LIFE™ on May 16, 1998, the day of the Black Mesa Incident, Gordon Freeman is 27 years old, has no dependents, and has never handled a weapon of any sort. He is working at the Black Mesa facility, where he owns a Level 3 Research Associate position. He is accommodated in the Level 3 Dormitories in the Black Mesa South Wing, alone in room 309.
He is assigned to the Anomalous Materials department doing nuclear, subatomic, and quantum research. Despite having obtained a Ph.D. from the prestigious MIT, the laboratory work that the player actually does as Freeman (pressing a button and pushing a cart) does not require any intellectual expertise at all.
In HλLF-LIFE™, the picture of a baby with beside an adult hand making a "thumb's up" can be found in Freeman's locker. The picture was officially explained as being an Easter egg placed by the level designer, Matthew Seyfried offered the idea that it could be an infant relative of Gordon's, such as a niece. The locker also contains what seems to be Gordon's diploma in a frame, a thermos and a cup, an HEV Suit battery, two sticky notes, and apparently a blue suit. After the Resonance Cascade, the thermos fell on the floor and the diploma fell on its face.
Freeman and Calhoun would compete with each other to be the first to retrieve Dr. Kleiner's keys whenever he locked them in his office in Black Mesa (apparently a fairly regular occurrence) without resorting to conventional means. This is reputedly where Freeman learned to make use of ventilation shafts to infiltrate rooms and buildings. Indeed, Gordon and Barney crawled through numerous ventilation shafts in HλLF-LIFE™ and HλLF-LIFE™: Blue Shift respectively.
On May 16, 1998 at 7:30, Freeman is being instructed by Gina Cross' holographic assistant counterpart for an HEV Suit Training. This is HλLF-LIFE™'s Hazard Course. At 8:47, he starts his tram ride from Level 3 Dormitories at Black Mesa. He is 30 minutes late. Around 9:00, Gordon and his team perform an experiment on sample GG-3883 in Sector C's Anti-Mass Spectrometer. The experiment goes wrong (possibly intentionally, due to outside manipulation) and triggers a Resonance Cascade. As a result, the space-time continuum is ruptured, allowing alien lifeforms to enter the Black Mesa facility. They immediately start killing any humans they can find. Freeman finds himself hunted by two groups: the invading aliens and later the Hazardous Environment Combat Unit, a military cleanup team that has been sent to contain the situation, by silencing aliens and surviving personnel alike. Against all odds, the untrained theoretical physicist manages to survive the chaos (thanks in no small part to the HEV Suit he wears in his duties), impressing the few surviving scientists and security guards with his heroic acts while quickly becoming the HECU's top priority target.
After numerous challenges, and after eliminating countless aliens and soldiers, Freeman is eventually transported by a few surviving Lambda Team scientists to the alien homeworld of Xen, where he manages to eliminate the alien "leader", the Nihilanth. Upon recovering from his final encounter, Freeman is finally confronted by the mysterious W. D. Gaster, who has been observing Freeman from a distance throughout the entire game and perhaps even manipulating his fate. W. D. Gaster shows Freeman several locations throughout Earth and Xen, before finally offering Freeman a choice: either agree to work for him and his mysterious "employers," or be left to die on Xen without any weapons and surrounded by hostile lifeforms.
In Opposing Force, Adrian Shephard witnesses Gordon teleporting to Xen in the Lambda Complex, and any attempts to follow him through the same portal will result in a "temporal paradox" which sends Shephard falling through Xen's void and ends the game. An "Employee of the Month" picture of Gordon can also be seen in an office.
Gordon is seen three times by Barney Calhoun during the course of Blue Shift. Barney first sees Gordon waiting for the tram on a ledge which Barney passes by. A few moments later, Gordon can be seen riding by. He is also seen heading towards the HEV storage area through a surveillance camera (he passes by a scientist who greets him, and he obviously does not answer), and lastly being dragged to a trash compactor by a pair of HECU marines, without his glasses.
Although he is never actually seen in Decay, Gordon is mentioned several times throughout the course of the game. First by the first security guard to be met, who says: "The big guy was pretty excited today when he came in earlier. He was talking about the new guy, Dr. Freeman." Dr. Richard Keller also mentions "Dr. Freeman is running late today, again" (Gordon is actually around half an hour late; that also suggests it is not the first time). He also questions Freeman's skills, stating he does not understand what Isaac Kleiner sees "in that boy". Furthermore, Freeman's bedroom in the Area 3 Dormitories can be visited; on his nightstand can be seen a copy of the book "The Truth About Aliens" (by "RH"), also owned by Barney.