Half-Life 2 Goes Episodic

Valve Software reveals that the Aftermath expansion pack will now be the first in a series of episodic content.

Valve Software has revealed to GameSpot that Aftermath, the upcoming expansion pack to the award-winning 2004 shooter Half-Life 2, has been renamed "Half-Life 2: Episode One." When asked whether the name change is indicative of a change in direction for the Half-Life 2 franchise, Valve marketing director Doug Lombardi replied, "Episodic." When asked the follow-up question of whether the new name meant the beginning of a regular flow of content, Lombardi replied, "Yes."

This change in focus may not be surprising to fans of Valve who are familiar with the company's online delivery service, Steam. The company recently announced that it was partnering with developer Ritual Entertainment to produce SiN Episodes, a series of episodic games on a regular basis that would be distributed online via the Steam service. GameSpot will have more updates on Half-Life 2: Episode One as they become available.

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101 comments
wokisan
wokisan

Makes it sound more like a 'mod' rather than an actual expansion. It'll be interesting to see how the pricing will turn out. Most pc expansions are now $29.99 so I would hope they cap the price at $19.99.

bioniccommando1
bioniccommando1

LOL!! If Valve is making it there will be an episode once every 2 to 3 years. Wasn't Aftermath supposed to be out last year?

Scarecrow89
Scarecrow89

Half Life episode one:The Combine strike back

schu
schu

im a little concerned that they will just rake in more money and not pass the savings onto the consumers..and whats worse is that i think that the updates will not bring as many new features as we would like to see

yoscar
yoscar

Is it going to cost money to download Episode 1? Aftermath was supposed to retail at 20-30 bukcs.

Emiliano_C
Emiliano_C

why some people is still saying "oh no, so I can't buy it retail!" It's confirmed from MONTHS that Aftermath will have a retail version, Why should the name change modify this?

poromenos
poromenos

Do you guyz expect, from this money farming project , to get the quality gameplay of the original HL2?

Katarn95
Katarn95

um y dont just rename all this aftermath stuff to be Half-Life 3's begining or first levels?

redwingfan1234
redwingfan1234

Ok, either no one here is old enough to know this, or no one here remembers, but the original FPS was delivered in Episodes. Wolfenstein 3-D was never available as one game- there were (I think) seven parts that you could order through the mail. At least we can downoad HL instantaneously.

WWEMAN101
WWEMAN101

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

thefieryking
thefieryking

Perhaps if Valve made the game challenging or difficult in any way (so that people would take longer to complete the game) and then timed the release of the next episode to be simliar to when the majority of players finish the game, then Valve's plan would work. Otherwise I believe it will fail.

DryvBy
DryvBy

Kinda crap. Good marketing for the HL nuts. I wish Sierra owned Half-life again. Sierra was so much customer friendly.

xxstalker24xx
xxstalker24xx

God people its only a bit of money everytime it comes out if it will make you moneyless dont buy it. I had a part time job and am looking for one know so however much it is small to me. Stop being lazy and get a job if you dont. Sombody said they should give it away free, yea right and would you give away something you made that took you about a year to make o_O. In short IAM GETTING THEM ALL MUHAHAHA

Drosa
Drosa

Thanks for leaving those with no access to high speed internet out in the cold. It

sgtsaville
sgtsaville

As long as it's as good as HL and HL2 I don't care what they plan on doing as long as the gap isn't like the one between the 2 games.

MrOpinionated
MrOpinionated

Remember guys, episode 1 will be retail. By itself or in the platinum collection. What's good is that you can pre-load it and if you buy it retail, you just have to activate your CD-key to play.

D_E_E_G_S
D_E_E_G_S

Yay this means that us Xbox (360)users might get a compilation disc with these episodes on it. Or theres always download through Xbox Live.

GreyFoxV1
GreyFoxV1

Sweet, I just hope that the time between episodes is reasonable for the dev team and its fans.

ergo2497
ergo2497

Umm... Wouldn't episode 1 technically be the original game? Whatever, as long as the episode packs in a decent amount of content and there's a steady stream of it afterwards, it'll be great. I need more HL2 in my life.

Faren451
Faren451

More HL2? Can't be soon enough for me.

dryden555
dryden555

Wait and see -- we might get too short "chapters" that re-use lots of textures from the main game . -- could be a rip-off

9mmSpliff
9mmSpliff

I said all along they should have done this. Continue the story in expansion. I think they kinda got the idea from The sIn Episodes.

Donkeljohn
Donkeljohn

The future is now. Episodic content has arrived.

cwl157
cwl157

i dont like it if you have to buy every episode which i assume this will be the case. However, i like the fact that they took the time to develop the source engine like it was supposed to be and now instead of just releasing one game with it and then abondoning trying to get something better they are just trying to expand on what they have instead of constantly trying to upgrade the engine like too many companies do these days.

molivers7
molivers7

This seems to be a new trend. TES Morrowind started this with two expansion packs with story development. I thought, why not have this as original content? answer: to make more freakin money! I can forgive Bethesda for this manuever because they spend mucho time on TES and there is a ton of content already. Half-life 2 fans seem to be getting a shaft on this one... but wait, they are getting more content. If it pisses you off, don't buy it. If you need a new fix of HL2, go buy the danged game.

rencie
rencie

$20 for 6 hours of gameplay is (still) too expensive -- especially if it's distributed online through Steam.

iammai
iammai

any thing they want,i will get it.

j14rk1n
j14rk1n

Personally I like the idea. Not many companies are doing it, and it sounds like there will be lower costs and more content to play through. It's not like you're going to pay for one level, either. These are full expansion packs- not just 1 map and you're done like Lost Coast. I like having the box also, but I'd be willing to skip it to cut some cash out of the deal.

cloudstrife75
cloudstrife75

change is welcomed... im anxious to see how this will turn out

darrenecm
darrenecm

And why has my comment been stripped of eye-saving paragraphs :)

darrenecm
darrenecm

I'm okay with the concept of episodic content as long as the content is not just a question of splitting up and delivering piecemeal what would have otherwise have been a good cohesive story. Take the written novel as an example. There are many fine novels out there that span 2 or more books but each book is a self-contained whole presenting you with a gripping story that follows the traditional story structure of beginning-middle-end even though there's more to come in the series. The same goes for TV series. Each episode has (or should have) a tantalising start, tense middle and satisfying end (except for those damned two-parter end-of-season cliff hangers), yet the exploits of the characters still continue in other complete 'episodes'. Half Life 2 episodes should offer exactly the same structure. The episodes should still offer a satisfyingly cohesive story that ends in a stisfactory manner. Half Life 2 didn't in my opinion and that reveals that those crafting the story are not professional story crafters. Valve should therefore look at how stories are structured in other mediums such as novels, TV series and even films and create its content in a similar manner. What I don't want to see is pitifully short episodes with no satisying climax to that episode. Unfortunately the alleged 6 hour gameplay and the $15-20 price tags being bandied about have me concerned about whether each episode will be value for money. For 6 hours I would expect to pay not more than $10 for an episode. Finally, with regards to Steam, I'm happy with it as an alternative delivery method to retail. What I'm not happy with are the prices. Half Life 2 for $29.95, the new Dangerous Waters at $39.95, Space Empires Deluxe at $19.95, Darwinia the same? Now I live in the UK but these US prices look like the same you would pay at retail yet Steam should't have the same overheads that ramp up the prices such as printed manuals, cost of designing the packaging, cost of making the packaging, cost of shipping shpping the boxes to retail and other price-bloating aspects of putting a product out to retail. So why are Steam prices still the same as retail and not more visibly lower?

Emiliano_C
Emiliano_C

I really don't understand why so many people are complaining... it's just a name change. Yes, "Aftermath" probably was cooler, but this will NOT change the game itself. There will still be a retail version, in will cost around $20 and it will be around 6hrs long. Then, you could also buy it online for cheaper. What's the problem? COD2 is 49$ for maybe 10 hours gameplay... Even HL1 had many expansions, same for doom, the sims, age of empires... why everybody is scandalized if HL2 has expansions? IT'S JUST A NAME CHANGE, NOT A CONTENT CHANGE

XlpranksterlX
XlpranksterlX

Ill be glad when i get a PC that fun Half-life 2 period.

doomed51
doomed51

wtf? just tryin to make extra money.....they'll prolly split up Aftermath into episodes or something...

tedd59
tedd59

I think Steam is too bulky and controlling. If they're cheap, I'll probably buy them because I love HL2, but I despise to see things go in this direction.

Hellisunreal
Hellisunreal

Finally, someone's tryin sumthin new. lets hope it comes cheap

GriMGraVe
GriMGraVe

This one actually made me laugh, because, i really think that valve didn't quite finish the expansion in time, so they decided to cut it into episodes. If its going to be short, Hl2 players will be dissapointed. I know that lost coast was just an example of the source engine power, but...it was a short example.

Nafe
Nafe

Episodic releases are so stupid, they did that with Secret Ops & Wing Commander. Just release the whole thing "Oh yeah! Let's keep them in suspense!" This game was terrible anyway, it think they should jsut end the series with a great finale ending, instead of this "Hi Gordon Freedman, I am the FBI guy again, and looks like you still can't kill me. Here comes another pointless adventure!" Honestly what fullfillment did you feel at all by beating Halflife 2 and that really dumb ending? (Minding the fact waiting for a new one for years?)

Kounji
Kounji

My prediction on this is two things. The first is that if this fails there is no hope for games to follow an episodic nature. Indigo prophecy was orignially supposed to be episodic but instead they opted for a fuller experience. I think this is the turning point if valve doesn't succeed with episodic content I don't think there is any room for it for gamers.. meaning it won't ever catch on Perhaps it might also have a chance with x-box live but I think valve is in the best position to try it with a game of the year property that has proven its worth to gamers they know many people will buy it just how many. The second prediction is it succeeds.. and then other game developers follow suit with this model especially when retail space is limited for games nowadays and we start to see cheaper shorter games that expand into longer stories. Gaming begins to become sort of like itunes or downloadable television episodes except they are more interactive and tons more expensive. This gives smaller companies a model to release games without having to deal with publishers as much and gaming returns back to the innovation of the 90's Smaller development houses more creativity not just the next halo or the next wow. I hope it does cause then companies won't have to answer to publishers as much anymore like vivendi universal or activision when they say they need another three months or they want to put certain assets into games or ideas that aren't marketable in old business men eyes

carabetta
carabetta

i really don't like the STEAM move, they just want to make more money releasing 49 episodes at U$S20 each so you can understand a little bit more of the story. i tought this was going to be just another expansion, some more hour to play with half-life before deleting it, but now they force me to be waiting for the epidsodes releases just to play 30 minutes of maybe worth-less gameplay. i hate EA put it's hands on something that was simply great.

Cartman86
Cartman86

How is this stupid? Besides EA will publish copies of the games in stores! Retail will always be around. But downloads are also the future. I don't know about you, but there are so many times where I just don't get a game because I have to drive somewhere to get it and I figure it really isn't worth it. Downloading andpaying through credit card just feels better. In the end I end up buying something that wasn't worth it, but for the companies I imagine they get more money out of me. Steam is awesome. Having updates for your games come directly to you? This is the PC space. Get the hell out of here console only people. Downloading stuff has been around for ages. This is just another distribution method. Look at the 360. The demo thing is an awesome thing. Basically every week you get a new demo. It's a nice thing. And besides the game you buy through steam is always tied to your free steam login and password. Wherever you go you have the game. You can burn it onto a CD too. Quit your complaining and go along with the times.

Brazed
Brazed

EA will still release a retail version of these episodes. Aftermath was punted as being episodic, this is hardly any news at all. Unless ofcourse, they plan on finishing the HL story through episodes and not a 3'rd game...

SnuffDaddyNZ
SnuffDaddyNZ

No big surprise there. The singleplayer storyline in Half-Life 2 was incomplete, despite the long development time, so really we should expect that they couldn't finish the story this quickly in a single expansion. I'm still surprised that with all the LONG cutscenes in Half-Life 2 they couldn't in my opinion get a coherent and complete storyline in there. I suppose to sum up my point of view I would say that I felt like the storyline in Half-Life 2 was kinda like the movie trailer of the full picture, there seemed to be a lot of detail left out (oh man, that ending... it was soo anti-climatic for me. Like a "too be continued...", hated it). Like, if you look at the original Half-Life the story is pretty much told through the players actions, and it seems to work much better for telling a story in the FPS medium than having these long storytelling cutscene breaks between action that you get with Half-life 2, which is kind of ironic. But let's not forget the real reason why they have decided on making episodic content. A certain other game is going to be episodic, some game set in the world of SiN. Now even though Half-Life was held in such high regard for such a long time, there was a small group of people which I fit into that enjoyed the game SiN more than Half-Life. Of course, I still loved Half-Life, but I found SiN slightly more enjoyable. You did need to wait for the patches to be released, and you needed a decent system to run it, but the game was fun, eventually. I'm pretty sure that SiN introduced the concept of trying to get headshots, although Rainbow Six came out around the same time so I could be wrong, and besides that I had no experience with FPS prior to the first Unreal.