In 1998, one of the most anticipated games of the year was SiN, the first-person shooter from developer Ritual Entertainment and publisher Activision. However, much of SiN's hype was deflated by the near-simultaneous release of Valve Software's Half-Life, which, by all accounts, revolutionized the FPS genre.
Although Half-Life garnered more critical acclaim and popularity than SiN, Ritual and Valve would collaborate down the road. After Gearbox Software stopped developing Counter-Strike: Condition Zero to work on the PC Halo, Valve called in Ritual to take over the single-player sequel to the Half-Life-based Counter-Strike. However, Ritual quietly left the project in late 2003, replaced by Turtle Rock Studios.
Now Valve and Ritual have announced a new collaboration: a sequel to SiN, no less. Today, the two companies took the wraps off SiN Episodes, a reworking of the SiN universe based on Half-Life 2's Source engine. Rather than coming as a single game, SiN Episodes will be made available in the form of episodic content downloads available solely through Valve's Steam delivery service. No pricing information or ship dates for SiN Episodes were mentioned by the two companies.
"Digitally delivered episodic content is the next frontier in the games industry," said Ritual CEO Steve Nix. "Episodic development gives Ritual the opportunity to be much more responsive to community feedback and industry trends. We can adjust our content to deliver maximum entertainment value with each installment."
Gabe Newell, founder and president of Valve, shared Nix's sunny assessment. "One of our goals for Steam and Source is to provide a viable platform for independent developers who would rather be working on original IP," he said.
As with SiN and its Wages of SiN expansion, SiN Episodes will follow Colonel John R. Blade, a grizzled commando charged with foiling the nefarious plans of SinTEK, a shadowy multinational corporation. Unfortunately, SinTek is headed by the alluring, evil, and apparently dyslexic biochemist Elexis Sinclaire, who will further pursue her program of human experimentation in Episodes. "Emergence," the first of the SiN: Episodes, sees new graphics, weapons, characters, and environments added to the game, not to mention a new storyline involving Sinclair, Blade, and Blade's sidekick, greenhorn commando Jessica "JC" Cannon.
GameSpot will have more details on SiN Episodes: Emergence as they become available.