It seems that Valve is being nice and up front about the odds of us seeing any new additions to its vastly successful Half-Life series over the course of this year, shooting down hopes that we’d see a new episode in 2010 nice and early.
Word from Valve comes courtesy of VG247, which highlights the fact that Valve’s Gabe Newell discussed Half-Life 2: Episode 3’s development in an interview last year, saying that the game was still under development. For now we have no indication of just why the next addition to the Half-Life 2 continuity is taking quite so long, but when the protracted delays seem to be a fairly damning indictment of Valve’s move to episodic content for the series.
Indeed, back when it released Half-Life 2: Episode 1, Valve’s stated reason for moving to episodic content for the series was that it would allow for shorter development times and smaller releases, offering players more regular content, yet it looks as though there could well be a four year gap between 2007’s Episode 2 and the still-in-development Episode 3.
Ironically, Valve has had a tremendous amount of success with episodic-content-styled updates to its massively successful multiplayer shooter, Team Fortress 2. By contrast, TF2 has seen its community maintained by well-timed releases of additional content in the form of unlockable weapons, new achievements and new maps (to say nothing of the infamous hats). Moreover, all of that additional content has been free, which is harder still to argue with.
For now, the big rumour is that Valve had worked on Episode 3 for so long that it has decided to move the whole thing to one side and stop it being episodic content at all, and simply surprise everyone with a sudden release of Half-Life 3, though it sounds a bit like an easy way to have a dreadful launch week to us…