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On Half-Life 2: Episode Three Scheduling

The Interview with Valve's Doug Lombardi on Kikizo goes into a good deal of detail about Left 4 Dead, the upcoming multiplayer zombie shooter, as well as the episodic follow-ups to Half-Life 2. Doug says they may begin revealing information about Episode 3 "at the very end of the year." On that topic, he does admit that the gap between Episode 2 and Episode 3 will be the longest yet: "Yeah, the next time you play as Gordon will be longer than the distance between HL2 to Ep1, and Ep1 to Ep2."

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30. Re: No subject Oct 15, 2008, 12:45 nin
 
never installed portal

You should seriously give it a shot. One of the writers from Old Man Murray worked on it, and besides beings a fun puzzle game, it has a wicked sense of humor about it...
 
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29. Re: No subject Oct 15, 2008, 11:35 Armengar
 
I have orange box, never installed portal or ep2 (or ep1). In fact I never finished HL2 either. Sorry.
 
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28. No subject Oct 15, 2008, 10:12 dryden555
 
I think Valve is very aware the the HL2 episodes ** as they orginally envisioned them ** was a failure. They couldnt release the episodes quicky enough. But Orange Box sold tons. Valve came out $$$ ahead in the longer run from console sales.

Portal is a great but VERY short little game that almost makes up for the craptastic Episode 1.
 
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27. Re: No subject Oct 14, 2008, 22:30 Jerykk
 
I think Valve's episodic approach with HL2 has seriously hurt the franchise's appeal. When you release little expansion packs every few years, consumer interest tends to turn to apathy. Honestly, how many people would have bought Episode 2 had it not come bundled with TF2 and Portal? 'nuff said.

Valve says that spending another 6 years and millions of dollars for a proper sequel would have been impractical. Problem is, it shouldn't have taken 6 years to make HL2 in the first place. It was a good game, but not good enough to warrant 6 years in development. With development time cut in half to a more reasonable three years, Valve would have had plenty of time to make a good, proper HL3. I highly doubt they'd have any problems selling at least 1 million units either. Now, they probably couldn't even sell 50,000 units of Episode 3 individually.

 
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26. Re: No subject Oct 14, 2008, 21:03 Krovven
 
It was made from an idea that came from 2 Valve interns.

They weren't interns. University students that showed off their project (Narbacular Drop) during the job fair. Gabe and co liked it, invited them to visit Valve offices and hired them.

Valve got REALLY lucky with portal.

To a degree, absolutely. However, Valve has demonstrated many many times before they are very good at recognizing talent and hiring accordingly. Some will disagree, but they also know how to make good games.

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25. Re: ... Oct 14, 2008, 19:47 Beamer
 
I couldn't disagree more. I felt it was weak, incredibly linear, lacked any worthwhile narrative and was overly focused on gimmicky gameplay like puzzle solving (energy balls in sockets, moving cars on antlion holes, running back and forth with people). It also didn't do anything new visually, making it seem really half-assed. By the time it picked up it was right at the end and I was left asking "is this it?".

Agreed.
I thought the ending of HL2 was fine and made sense. Gordon got no closure. So we got no closure. I thought that EP1 just weakened that.
And, then, I thought that the gameplay of EP1 was a bit lame and weak. I felt that way at times in HL2, but EP1 just enforced it heavily. I was ready to give up.

Then EP2 hit. It felt like a revelation. Paced perfectly. Combat felt tighter. Plot was given extremely well.

I loved Portal for a once-through. I loved EP2 for a once-through. I played about 30 seconds of TF2. That's the one that stuck with me the least. I dunno, I have little time and little interest in gaming with people I don't know.
 
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24. No subject Oct 14, 2008, 19:47 dryden555
 
before orange box was released, valve wasnt sure if Portal was good. It was made from an idea that came from 2 Valve interns. In other words, Valve got REALLY lucky with portal.

 
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23. ... Oct 14, 2008, 19:44 theyarecomingforyou
 
TF2 and Portal were the selling points of the Orange Box, if you take those out and call it something else, and just have HL2+ep1+ep2...I don't think the sales would be good. Or if they'd just sold Episode 2...
No-one doubts that without TF2 or Portal that sales would have been considerably less, even at a much lower price. But people were expecting TF2 to be a full-priced release - the fact that it was bundled with Ep2 and the rest was quite astounding.

I think TF2 and Portal were such strong games that people compromised with Valve and agreed to buy the package for a bit more than it was worth to them.
It was $45 with the pre-order for HL2 / Ep1 / Ep2 / Portal / Team Fortress 2 / Peggle Extreme. I already owned HL2 and Ep1 but still thought it was great value. TF2 was easily worth $30, particularly seeing how well it has been supported.

And after episode 1, and 2, I'm certainly not interested in buying episode 3.
Ep2 had the best storytelling, pacing and delivery of any first-person I've played to date. I still remember smaller characters (like the guys with the sentries guarding Alyx) when I forget bigger characters in other games. I'm quite surprised that people didn't appreciate it. And renting The Orange Box on X360? That's like playing Wii Sports on a D-pad or reading the works of Shakespeare on a mobile phone - it's simply wrong.

But i may be interested in compromising and buying their other games and then they can throw that episode in as a free bee and pretend I'm buying it too.
Exactly. After Ep1 I really wasn't very interested in Ep2 until the bundle was announced, which was stunning considering how much I was looking forward to Team Fortress 2. I hope they can offer a similar bundle for Ep3 as it clearly worked with The Orange Box. You can still buy the games individually, so there's no requirement to buy the bundle, but the bundle can tempt people sitting on the edge.

Valve has yet to demonstrate episodic content to be a success but instead adapted its plans to make up for it. At the end of the day the gaming is great and that's what matters. Valve said they're planning a different approach for Ep3 to Ep1 or Ep2, so that could be interesting. Even after the strength of Ep2 I don't think Valve will be in a hurry to release Ep3 standalone.
 
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22. Re: Ep3 Oct 14, 2008, 16:23 Tumbler
 
I didn't care much for Episodes 1 and 2 at all...

Portal, on the other hand...more of that, please.

No kidding. That game was a complete mind fuck. That was sex for my brain.

THE CAKE IS A LIE!!!

The companion cube? No one ever disposed of their companion cube that fast! The song at the end. That was an amazing game. The fact that it was so short makes it all the more impressive. Desperately want more of that.

Episode what? I want some cake GODDAMMIT!

 
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21. No subject Oct 14, 2008, 15:45 dryden555
 
remember when Valve said the point of these episodes was to make a new one every 3 months? An interesting failed marketing experiment.

 
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20. Re: Ep3 Oct 14, 2008, 14:32 nin
 
And we as gamers continue to go through this love/hate cycle with them, hating them for making us wait, loving them when the game finally arrives

I didn't care much for Episodes 1 and 2 at all...

Portal, on the other hand...more of that, please.
 
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19. Re: Ep3 Oct 14, 2008, 14:20 kimbambaman
 
I wish they'd scrap plans for episode 3 and work on HL3. But then I don't care how much money they make so my feeling only stems from what I want as a consumer.

I believe it has been said by Valve that, Episodes 1 + 2 + 3 = HL 3. But Im not 100% on that so dont hold me to it.

Valve has the financial freedom to take however long as they bloody well please to develop a game. And we as gamers continue to go through this love/hate cycle with them, hating them for making us wait, loving them when the game finally arrives. But at the end of the day they are still putting out some fantastic games, and thats what really matters.
 
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18. No subject Oct 14, 2008, 14:18 Bluesfanboi
 
I enjoyed HL2. I'll wait until all the episodes are done and then enjoy them.

I do not support Valve's piece-meal nickel and dimed epileptic fits of game releases...I don't care how good they say it is..for them. It's not good for me.

This comment was edited on Oct 14, 2008, 14:19.
 
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17. Re: ... Oct 14, 2008, 12:58 Krovven
 
I don't see the Orange box as a "HL2" brand item. Just the episode.

Portal takes place in the Half-Life universe. The references are pretty blatant, and it's expected that the Portal gun will make an appearance in Ep3, and likely have something to do with the "boat".

So yes the Orange Box is an HL2 brand product. TF2 is the multiplayer component in the Orange Box, as CSS was the multiplayer for HL2, followed shortly by the release of HL2DM.

And for the record, Episode 2 was definitely better than Episode 1. Not sure how anyone could think differently, but it's your opinion.

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This comment was edited on Oct 14, 2008, 13:00.
 
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16. Re: ... Oct 14, 2008, 12:37 Tumbler
 
Thirdly, tarnished the brand? Absolutely not. The Orange Box - and therefore each of the titles included - redefined what people expect from gaming. It's the same with Portal - would I have bought it on its own? It would have been much less likely.

I don't see the Orange box as a "HL2" brand item. Just the episode. There is no argument from me that Valve is producing great content, but I think they have gone down a road that isn't going to end will with these episodes. TF2 and Portal were the selling points of the Orange Box, if you take those out and call it something else, and just have HL2+ep1+ep2...I don't think the sales would be good. Or if they'd just sold Episode 2...

I think TF2 and Portal were such strong games that people compromised with Valve and agreed to buy the package for a bit more than it was worth to them. (I would think most fans of valve already have HL2 and Ep1)

If I had to value each game I'd say $20 each, maybe a bit less for Portal but it was CRAZY good so I think $20 is fair.

Luckily they had the games available on the 360 so thanx to a rental I got to see everythign for a very reasonable price. And later went on to buy TF2!

But nothing about that whole thing makes me more likely to buy HL2 stuff in the future. I'm still buying based on the previous games, not the episodes. And after episode 1, and 2, I'm certainly not interested in buying episode 3. But i may be interested in compromising and buying their other games and then they can throw that episode in as a free bee and pretend I'm buying it too.

 
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15. ... Oct 14, 2008, 12:18 theyarecomingforyou
 
Wow. I felt like episode 1 tied the main HL2 game down and gave it an ending.
I couldn't disagree more. I felt it was weak, incredibly linear, lacked any worthwhile narrative and was overly focused on gimmicky gameplay like puzzle solving (energy balls in sockets, moving cars on antlion holes, running back and forth with people). It also didn't do anything new visually, making it seem really half-assed. By the time it picked up it was right at the end and I was left asking "is this it?".

Since then I think Episode 2 has tarnished the HL2 brand. To me episodic content needs to be tightly scheduled to keep people coming back. I think the inclusion of portal and TF2 with Episode 2 was the only way they could sell that in the numbers they wanted. If they'd broken it up I don't think many people would have purchased the episode separately.
There's a few points there. Firstly, I agree that Valve has failed when it comes to episodic content - they take too long to come out. Secondly, I agree that Ep2 wouldn't have sold as much if it wasn't in a bundle. The original episode was weak (I was hesitant about Ep2 until the bundle) and anybody that missed it wouldn't have bothered with the second one. Thirdly, tarnished the brand? Absolutely not. The Orange Box - and therefore each of the titles included - redefined what people expect from gaming. It's the same with Portal - would I have bought it on its own? It would have been much less likely.

The point is Valve saw the lukewarm response to Ep1 and did something about it. Episodes are a tough thing to sell because if people haven't bought those prior to it then there's little-to-no-chance of them buying subsequent ones. Valve also saw that they couldn't get away with simply rehashing the same experience. However, Ep2 demonstrated that Valve learnt and went above and beyond. I am VERY much looking forward to Ep3, whereas I wasn't bothered about Ep2 in the run up to its launch (even though it turned out to be exceptional).
 
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14. Re: ... Oct 14, 2008, 12:07 Warhawk
 
I hope they'll offer an interesting bundle like The Orange Box, as bundling TF2 / Portal / Peggle Extreme was a brilliant idea.

Agreed. Never played TF2, but the inclusion of Portal was awesome. My favorite game of the bunch.
 

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13. Re: Ep3 Oct 14, 2008, 12:06 MuzixMon
 
Valve is full of shit, their reason for turning to episodic games was to get them out of the door faster than it would a full game. Granted Ep1 and Ep2 came out much quicker than a full release would've but Ep3 won't be out until a full 2 years after Ep2 at least. Many companies the size of Valve could get a full length game out in a 2 year time frame but not to the quality of Valve's games.

I actually thought Valve might forget about Ep3 and just make a full blown HL3 to continue the story from Ep2 using new a new engine and everything. If this were the case we won't see it until 2012 at least.
 
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12. Ep3 Oct 14, 2008, 11:48 Tumbler
 
It doesn't really matter because if it's as good as, or better than, Ep2 then it will be a stunning game - it should also have a very interesting plot, as apparently a lot of details are going to be revealed (though it will probably pose more questions than it answers).

Wow. I felt like episode 1 tied the main HL2 game down and gave it an ending. Since then I think Episode 2 has tarnished the HL2 brand. To me episodic content needs to be tightly scheduled to keep people coming back. I think the inclusion of portal and TF2 with Episode 2 was the only way they could sell that in the numbers they wanted. If they'd broken it up I don't think many people would have purchased the episode separately.

All things considered Valve has still produced a lot of content on the side, but their big IP, half life, hasn't gotten another title worthy of the title. I wish they'd scrap plans for episode 3 and work on HL3. But then I don't care how much money they make so my feeling only stems from what I want as a consumer.

 
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11. Re: No subject Oct 14, 2008, 11:44 Krovven
 
Nice, but dammit I want info on They Hunger: Lost Souls! It's Left4Dead everyday but not a peep on They Hunger.

http://www.blackwidowgames.com/

There is your info...no info. They haven't even updated the website in 9 months.

--------------------------------------

Ep3 is gonna take longer, I think anyone with a brain could have figured that out when it was announced that Valve took over Turtlerock and began focusing on finishing Left 4 Dead.

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