Last month, attendees of Electronic Arts' Summer Showcase were taken aback when Valve Software CEO Gabe Newell took the stage. The developer's unannounced pop-in was to unveil the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Half-Life 2. What was surprising, though, was that both console editions would include both the Episode One and still-unreleased Episode Two episodic expansion packs and would ship alongside the latter later this year.
Today, though, 360 and PS3 owners who had been hoping to ring in the holidays blasting headcrabs got a preemptive lump of coal in their stockings. In an interview with Eurogamer, Valve director of marketing Doug Lombardi flatly said that all three versions of the game would not launch in 2006.
"It's just sort of classic Valve being overly aggressive on our dates," the usually tight-lipped executive told the site, referring to his company's long history of missing release dates. "But we're aiming for Q1  right now, and we're really far along in the play test stage." Attempts to directly contact Lombardi, who is currently in Europe, were unsuccessful as of press time.
Lombardi also confirmed the PC Half-Life 2: Episode Two would launch alongside the 360 edition, which Valve is developing internally, and the PS3 edition. Lombardi also told Eurogamer that the PS3 Episode Two is being codeveloped at an unnamed internal EA studio, as well as at Valve's Bellevue, Washington, headquarters.
Lombardi also reportedly reiterated that both console versions of Episode Two would contain the original Half-Life 2, the Episode One expansion, the revamped version of Team Fortress 2, and the all-new game Portal. A similarly all-inclusive PC edition would also be available, and all three would "end up being around standard full price as a console title and a PC title." It was unclear if Lombardi meant current or next-generation consoles.
For those that already own Half-Life 2 and Episode One, Lombardi reportedly said Valve was prepping a version of Episode Two that only had the expansion, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. He said that version would "probably be somewhere in between Episode One [pricing] and full price." In North America, Episode One currently retails for $19.99.