Acknowledging that Half-Life
games tend to take a bit too long to come out, Valve came up with the neat idea of episodic content for the game, releasing HL2: Episode 1 two years after the original HL2 in 2006, and in 2007, HL2: Episode 2.
The idea behind this concept was to deliver the title into smaller bits, like episodes of a TV series, letting gamers have quicker access to it. Instead of sitting a few years in production, working on the finishing touches, developers could release games sooner, at a lesser price, while being able to take advantage of technological advances between episodes.
The downside would be that these games, as episodes and not as full-length products, would be shorter, but Valve also managed to overcome this by making the HL2 episodes deep, immersive experiences. But as the HL2
Episode saga was coming to an end, with only the final Episode 3 left to be released, something went wrong in the grand scheme of things. With Episode 3 still unreleased, and Episode 2 launched almost two and a half years ago, the entire "episodic" concept Valve came up with is simply not working anymore.
What's even worse is that it looks like not only will there be no Episode 3 this year either, but that there are chances that there won't be an Episode 3 at all. According to Game Informer, Valve
doesn't have the final HL2 episode in plans for 2010, and it's even pondering if it should be released at all.
The good news here is that it's not thinking of leaving us high-and-dry with the story, just that it's thinking of entirely cutting the "episode" and "2" part from the previous installment in the franchise and going ahead straight to Half-Life 3. Which would be the best thing to do, since three years or more between releases an episodic content does not make.