While Laszlo and his friend Sandy were traveling from Lighthouse Point to the Vortigaunt Camp to get some Bugbait, they were attacked by Antlions, leaving Laszlo severely wounded. Some time later, Gordon Freeman arrives on the scene, only to see Antlions attack Laszlo a second time, killing him. Gordon then proceeds to help Sandy in defeating the remaining Antlions.
Subsequently, Sandy tells Gordon to stay off the sand, as it is walking on it that attracts the Antlions. He then tells Gordon that there is no point for him to continue to the Vortigaunt Camp now that Laszlo is dead. He then acknowledges Gordon's effort to help, and that he will stay with Laszlo for a while, because there is "something [he] has to do" (though if one waits or comes back to the spot after leaving, it appears that Sandy never actually does anything, or disappears entirely). He finally tells Gordon he hopes he has better luck than them. Gordon then leaves and continues his journey to the Vortigaunt Camp. During the brief encounter, Sandy never elaborates as to why he considers Laszlo to be "the finest mind of his generation."
Behind the scenes
- According to Marc Laidlaw, the scene with Laszlo and Sandy was created to tell the player to stay off the sand, and keep to the rocks to avoid being swarmed. It went through many iterations before the final version: At first, it simply consisted of a Rebel standing on the rocks, telling the player "Stay off the sand or the Antlions'll hear you!". The next version, slightly more elaborate, added a dead body on the sand, and had the surviving Rebel saying: "Poor Tobias, he forgot the Antlions could hear him if he stepped on the sand." (Laszlo's model animations still bear the name "Tobias") The team continued to iterate, eventually leading to a scene where Laszlo was still alive, but would still inevitably die. This also showcases that while Laszlo's death is not important to the player, it is to Sandy; other NPCs do not necessarily share Gordon's goals, and care about other things besides Gordon's journey and the death of the final boss.
- Laszlo is referenced as an in-joke in Laidlaw's non-canon Twitter fiction account BreenGrub. The account, which allegedly is a record of the consciousness of Wallace Breen in a host body relaying the history of the Combine Advisor, mentions that as part of the Combine's annexation of the species for use as host bodies "the finest minds are stored and then imprinted, replicated over and over on an endless supply of hosts... Laszlo is in here somewhere."
- During early development of Half-Life: Alyx, Laszlo (here spelled Lazlo) was to originally have been the one who sent Alyx on her journey throughout the game. Concept art for this version exists, where he is depicted as looking much older than his Half-Life 2 appearance, with white hair. This concept was ultimately cut and Laszlo's role was given to Russell.
- The final game includes some references to Russell's prior identity: in Russell's Lab, a notepad with the password "lazl0" can be found near a computer, and Russell is still called "lazlo" in the game files.
- Laszlo will still die even if the player is quick enough to dispatch all the Antlions Laszlo startled. As his death is scripted, Laszlo will suddenly jerk and fall over dead as if hit.
- If the player does not kill the startled antlions in some time or refuses to kill them after Laszlo moves then Sandy can die by them. Sandy can also die if the player triggers an antlion ambush near Sandy and one proceeds to attack him.