Dr Wallace Breen was a key figure in the world of Half-Life. He was the former administrator of the Black Mesa Research Facility and later became the public face of the Combine (formally known as the Universal Union), a multidimensional empire that conquered Earth in less than 7 hours (also known as the 7 Hour War).
Breen was a manipulative and charismatic leader who used propaganda to maintain control over the human population. He worked closely with the Combine to establish a puppet government that he headed as the Administrator of Earth, while also collaborating with the alien overlords to ensure his own survival and that of the human species. Without his close collaboration, humanity would’ve either been eradicated or forced into servitude in the most monstrous way possible due to the lack of empathy or care from the Combine’s side.
Despite his portrayed villainous nature, Dr Wallace Breen was a complex man with a tragic past. Before the events of the Resonance Cascade at Black Mesa, he had been a respected scientist and administrator, tho called on specific occasions a bureaucrat by Dr Rosenberg who worked in the Lambda Complex at Black Mesa, as well as on the Anti-Mass Spectrometer that caused the disaster.
What many fail to understand is that Breen was always a prisoner without a choice. He knew and had seen the power of the Universal Union which brought horror and hope within his mind. On one hand he knew that the human species would stand no chance against this highly advanced empire, on the other was the opportunity to become part of it and propel humanity forward.
His opinions were not unfounded due to the fact that Earth’s defenses had fallen in seven hours, so no matter how much the human spirit wanted to fight reality was either total obliteration or the ascension of the human race.
Nonetheless, his complicity in the grotesque methods of subjugation, incarceration and mutilation of the remaining citizens of Earth is one that cannot be overlooked due to his direct involvement in most matters, tactics and ideas. Yet it is unknown how much direct involvement Breen had over the entire operation, since he had no control over Overwatch and what they did at Nova Prospekt.
It’s observed that the human Combine forces on Earth would take orders from Overwatch, and in several occasions Breen would voice his disappointment at their bad performance during the events of Half Life 2. Nevertheless, his function is that of a politician, a bureaucrat.
Let us not forget: the only sane choice in his mind is that of collaboration. In his mind it’d be unrealistic to try and fight a civilization that can wipe away worlds effortlessly, a civilization that has harnessed the power of stars and space travel and colonization.
Dr Wallace Breen’s perceived evil is the desperation of a man whose entire life has been a struggle, a struggle for advancing science, a struggle for keeping his position of power, a struggle against Earth’s government, a struggle in saving the scraps of the human race, a struggle of getting humanity a place in the Combine empire and not getting wiped out in the event of failing the promised expectations.