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"I can't remember the last time I had, well, anything."

Citizens are humans living under Combine rule, after the Seven Hour War and subsequent Combine occupation. The term "Citizen" refers specifically to a human living under Combine rule in a city, as opposed to a rebel or refugee. Over the course of the Half-Life 2 storyline, vast swathes of the citizen population ultimately come to join the growing resistance to overthrow their interdimensional overlords and restore Earth's freedom.


After a successful invasion, the Combine began to establish their dictatorship over the Earth, creating Overwatch Soldiers from human soldiers captured during the Seven Hour War. The remaining population was rounded up into the still-standing cities, which were re-designated with numbers instead of names (14, 17, etc.). These new "Citizens" of the Combine's empire are provided with accommodation, rations and protection from the Xen aliens that infest much of the world. The Combine also erected a Suppression Field, to prevent procreation.

The Combine also established the Civil Protection force. Staffed by unmodified humans, as opposed to the transhuman Overwatch, Civil Protection acts as the Combine's police force and handles the affairs of policing and monitoring the populace in the cities. Civil Protection officers are feared for their brutality, as they often bully Citizens and administer beatings at the slightest provocation. As seen in Half-Life 2's first chapter, Point Insertion, Civil Protection officers sometimes stage raids on residential buildings to arrest and imprison alleged rebels and sympathizers. Comments made by Citizen onlookers seem to suggest this is a regular occurrence. Citizens are encouraged to join Civil Protection by promises of better rations. Civil Protection officers themselves are encouraged to undergo transhuman surgery to join the ranks of the Overwatch.

In an attempt to prevent tightly knit communities and organizations of any kind from forming, the Civil Protection authorities transfer Citizens from one city to another as many as three times a year.[2] Citizens are also apparently forced to wear identical blue denim boiler suits, and women have their hair cut short.

The penalty for Citizens who choose to disobey the Combine (or are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time) is summary execution, forced conscription into the Overwatch or Stalker transformation, conducted at Nova Prospekt.


Often times groups of citizens share a single section of an apartment.

Citizens are granted the minimum of what they need to survive, such as a standardized diet and home. They are also transferred from city to city frequently.

Citizens constantly complain about the quality of their meals,[3] which they get in packages dispensed by machines found in public places, such as the City 17 train station. For drinking, Citizens have access to free water, dispensed through vending machines, among other ways. Some Citizens believe, however, that the Combine put something in the water that wipes memories, suggesting that the Combine use the water itself as yet another method to brainwash Citizens.[4] Civil Protection officers are given far better meals, which becomes yet another incentive for the Citizens to become one.

Citizens are assigned to simple flats in apartment buildings which are all categorized into blocks. They are kept under constant surveillance by Civil Protection officers through the medium of City Scanners and Security Cameras. Raids and arrests are frequent occurrences throughout the apartments.

Most Citizens live in rather poor living conditions. In the apartment block in Point Insertion it can be observed that most apartments lack doors (from the constant CP raids), are littered with old furniture and debris, and are just generally dirty and cramped living quarters. Most homes have a small TV, which is always shown displaying Wallace Breen's Breencasts.

Citizens are able to apply to be part of Civil Protection. Those who do have generally better lives, and work on shifts patrolling areas all around the city where they then take place in raids and crackdowns or just beat up and arrest other Citizens for many different reasons, or even without any reason at all. These Citizens are generally hated by non-civil officers, because these Citizens choose to be a part of the Combine, beating and arresting Citizens at their own discretion, rather than their Combine Overwatch counterparts, who have had their memories wiped. There are also double agents like Barney Calhoun who join Civil Protection to aid in The Resistance and tip off Citizens.

The Resistance

Main article: Resistance

Among the oppressed inhabitants of City 17 there is a significant underground movement; even Citizens who are not actively involved in the resistance are usually sympathetic. As survivors' accounts of Gordon Freeman's heroic feats during the Black Mesa Incident reached a wider audience, Freeman came to be considered a legendary figure in the minds of many people, being one of the few that fought both the Xen aliens and the military and survived.

In the cities, the Resistance operates underground networks (such as the Underground Railroad in City 17) to escape the attention of the Civil Protection. Citizens seeking to escape the oppressive atmosphere in the cities use these networks to escape and join the Resistance forces.

After Gordon Freeman's return and subsequent feats against the Combine, which eventually culminated in his leading a swarm of Antlions into Nova Prospekt and destroying it, an all-out rebellion sparked in City 17 in which many Citizens joined the Resistance and formed armed militias, dramatically boosting the Resistance numbers.

Behind the scenes

Cut female child.

Cut male child.

  • Originally, Citizens were to be dressed in green with an apron and gas masks, since the Air Exchange was replacing the air with toxic gases at this point of the game development. An early "Consulcast" also refers to this by "The true Citizen conserves valuable oxygen."[5] In the end, the gas mask concept was only kept for the Combine humanoid units.
"We designed the Citizens of Half-Life 2 to look oppressed and downtrodden. Their costumes reflected the location and environment they lived in using standard issued clothing to give it a prison-like atmosphere. Half-Life 2 spans three days, and we wanted the Citizens to correspond with the time and location of events throughout the game. Citizens appear in almost every map of the game, but couldn’t overpower the player visually. We wanted them to compliment the world and not stand out."
Moby Francke[src]
  • Friendly fire was also originally to be authorized on Citizens and Vortigaunts, like the Black Mesa Personnel in Half-Life.[8] The feature can be experienced in the playable Half-Life 2 Beta; upon being hit, Citizens will answer things like "Freeman! We're on your side!", "Watch what you're doing!", "We trusted you!". These sound files can still be found in the Half-Life 2 files.

Citizen list

Technically, the Citizens are a mix between the Half-Life scientists and security guards, to which they succeed. While the body models and textures are the same (one female and one male), only the heads change (although the model build can change from one model to another, making a Citizen slimmer or fatter). Also, most Citizen face textures bear the first names of the people who gave their likeness to them. Nine male models exist, while the females count only six. There were originally nine women, although a tenth man also existed. The face textures for these cut Citizens can be found in the playable Half-Life 2 Beta files. Most people used as models come from the Seattle area. While all Citizens all use the same brown eyes, several models actually have blue (such as Ted Backman or Erdin Grcic) or green (such as Joey Paresa) eyes.

The NPCs come in three types: "downtrodden", which is the normal blue outfit; "refugee", the same blue outfit, but in lesser condition and sometimes with a beige shirt instead of blue (the one featured in the Standard Zombie); and "rebel", classic or medic, appearing during the Uprising, although some still use the two previous types. Through these types, their faces tend to change a bit: different hair color, shaving, beard, goatee and moustache variations (for the men), different skin details on the face, different mouths or eyebrows, etc. Of note is that Gordon Freeman arrived in City 17 dressed in Citizen attire, "downtrodden" or "refugee".

All reference model images featured in Raising the Bar are the actual pictures used for the face textures.

In the playable Half-Life 2 Beta files, the file "halflife2.fgd" contains several alternate nicknames, accompanied with the warning that they should not be included in the final version ("don't ship with these names").[5] The available ones are listed near their related Citizen.

Male 01

Van (Van Crowder), an African American man with two variants. The first version is the very first Citizen seen in Half-Life 2, on the train, with a full beard, and appears as a medic during the Uprising. The other, more faithful to Crowder's face, is used for Matt and Leon and most of the Citizens seen in the playable Half-Life 2 Beta, with only a moustache and a goatee. During the Uprising, he comes as a standard Rebel, but without moustache. Like Crowder, he originally had dreadlocks.[5] His alternate nickname was "Morgan",[5] a possible reference to actor Morgan Freeman.

Male 02

Ted (Valve's Ted Backman), originally used for the Conscripts, notably Animal. Used for instance for the Citizen seen in an interrogation room at the start of Half-Life 2 or the AR3 guy in Episode Two. The refugee variant has brighter hair with fuller stubble, while the rebel variant has much less facial hair and minor changes in skin color. Was originally without a moustache, with a brighter face and balding.[5] His alternate nickname was "Backmantis",[5] probably a pun between "Backman" and "black mantis".

Male 03

Joe (Joe Cairo), an African American man. He can be seen as one of the two Citizens looking through the windows before the Civil Protection raid at the start of Half-Life 2. He was originally browner, and with only a moustache.[5] His alternate nickname was "Shaft",[5] a possible reference to actor Richard Roundtree, famous for his character John Shaft.

Male 04

(Valve's Eric Kirchmer), a bald Citizen, had the top of his head based on that of Father Grigori's face texture. The original reference picture, featured in Raising the Bar, was also one of the bases for Gordon Freeman's face[1] and used for the stripped Overwatch Soldier. In both models, the reference picture is more recognizable in the older textures from the playable Beta. He originally had a brighter face.[5]

Male 05

Art (Art Min), of Asian background, can be seen as Laszlo in-game. Originally used for Samuel. His Rebel and Medic variants have a brighter skin color. The very first face texture and the retail one are very different. It is also used for a Counter-Strike: Source hostage. Art Min is a video game developer who also worked for Looking Glass Studios and Ion Storm.

Male 06

Sandro (Sandro Consi), used for Winston and Griggs. The rebel variant has a younger-looking face, while the medic variant sports a moustache. It is also used for a Counter-Strike: Source hostage with a brighter face.

Male 07

Mike (Michael S. Smith), used for Joe, Jacob, Sandy or the other Citizen on the train at the start of Half-Life 2. He is also famous for being used for Gordon Frohman, the main protagonist of the fan-made webcomic Concerned, and as "John Freeman" of Icton Entertainment's "Full Life Consequences" videos. Was originally used for the City 17 workers and the Borealis Workers with different hair, better-shaved and with a brighter face, more faithful to the original reference model. His alternate nickname was "Climber Mike".[5]

Male 08

Vance, originally used for Captain Vance, from whom he kept the name. Used for the Citizen telling Gordon not to drink the water at the start of Half-Life 2, Sheckley, the Citizen giving instructions near the Autogun, and the Citizen arguing with the AR3 guy. His Rebel variant sports a beard while the medic variant has a moustache. Also used for a Counter-Strike: Source hostage. Was originally brighter and better-shaved, which seems partially revived in the Counter-Strike: Source hostage model.[5] His alternate nickname was "Mr. Rourke", a possible reference to actor Mickey Rourke.[5]

Male 09

Erdin (Erdin Grcic), one half of the Consoling Couple, the Citizen sitting in the kitchen, pondering, when Gordon goes through the apartment buildings at the start of Half-Life, Daniel and MIRT. He is also the protagonist of the comic Worse Than Life. He originally had a brighter face, and the reference model's original eyes were still present.[5] His alternate nickname was "Lucifer".[5]

Cut male model

Trav[5] (Travis Dunlop), it is unknown what exact number he was to have.


Andrew[5] (Warren Slough), the low resolution Citizen model, used when Citizens are seen from afar. Each time he is seen walking from a point to another, re-spawning each time in a loop. He appears for instance in the screens at Kleiner's Lab, where the G-Man can be seen, and at Black Mesa East, right before getting into the elevator with Mossman. His name can be found in the playable Half-Life 2 Beta files. His alternate nickname was "Cheaple Vanessa's Brother".[5]

Warren Slough was born in Seattle, Washington on the 3rd of December 1972. He died on the 3rd of July 2006, the reasons of his death is not known to the public. His online obituary can be found here in Seattle Times.

Female 01

Joey (Joey Paresa), the other half of the Consoling Couple, as well as Arlene. Her Refugee and Medic variants have a brighter hair, while the rebel variant has a dirtier face.

Female 02

Kanisha (Kanisha Patel Speyrer), brunette used for instance as one of the two Citizens looking through the windows before the CP raid at the start of Half-Life 2. The current face is not that of Kanisha Speyrer's. It can be found in the playable Half-Life 2 Beta files, showing only her ears and part of her hair were kept. Kanisha is the wife of Valve's David Speyrer.

Female 03

Kim (Kim Harris-Jones), an African American woman, sometimes seen with a headscarf in her hair (Red in the refugee variant, blue in the medic variant.) Was originally brighter.[5]

Female 04

Chau (Chau Luu), a woman of Asian background, used for instance for Noriko or Mary. She originally had a brighter face.[5] Chau Luu is an actress (in theater, film and commercial), a voice actress, a model, and a television host of Vietnamese ascent and living in Los Angeles.[9]

Female 06

Naomi (Naomi Cotton), used for instance for the woman asking Gordon if he and the other Citizens were the only ones on the train, near the turnstile at the start of Half-Life 2 (named "chainlinkgirl" in the map). Her model is "Female_06.mdl", although she is the fifth in Hammer.

Female 07

Lakeetra (Lakeetra Gilbert), another African American woman. Used for instance for the Shorepoint medic.

Cut female models


  • The blue boiler suits worn by all citizens may be a reference to the blue overalls worn by the Outer Party in the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
  • A glitch is caused when the player pushes or pulls citizens with the supercharged Gravity Gun. In this glitch, multiple bodies will spawn on the ground. If you do this too much it will result in a friendly kill.
  • The Resistance soldier in Episode Two cannot be spawned through a console command, if a player spawns one, only a citizen in a blue suit will be spawned, but it has the same behavior.
  • If a citizen is spawned in Portal and he joins player's squad, the HUD icon will appear a letter "C" as standard citizen and "M" as medic rather than a human logo.
  • The suitcase that citizens carry in the d1_trainstation_01, is actually a weapon, familiar to the Food Package in d1_trainstation_02.




List of appearances


Imagecat.png The Half-Life Wiki has more images related to Citizen.
  1. 1.0 1.1 Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar
  2. "This is my third transfer this year" -Citizen remark, Point Insertion, Half-Life 2
  3. "You have to be damn hungry to wait in line for this crap" -Citizen remark, Point Insertion, Half-Life 2
  4. "Don't drink the water. They put something in it... to make you forget. I don't even remember how I got here" -Citizen remark, Point Insertion, Half-Life 2
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 5.19 5.20 5.21 5.22 Playable Half-Life 2 Beta files
  6. WC mappack
  7. File:Ravenholm overview1.jpg
  8. Playable Half-Life 2 Beta
  9. Chau Luu's Official website