Just over a week ago, Valve Software changed the name of Half-Life 2: Aftermath to Half-Life 2: Episode One. The obvious implication was that, instead of one or two major expansion packs, the developer was planning to release a series of episodic updates to its award-winning PC shooter. That scheme was confirmed to GameSpot by the famously terse Doug Lombardi, Valve's director of marketing, in a series of single-word e-mails.
Given Valve's plans, it should come as little or no surprise that, yes, there will be a Half-Life 2: Episode Two. Speaking with British site Computer and Video Games, Valve designer Robin Walker said that a second expansion "has been in development for some time." He gave no release window for the expansion, though it will obviously be several months after Episode One's April 24 ship date.
Walker also let slip a few hints about the plots of both expansion packs. "Episode One will not end with an all-encompassing conclusion", he said, comparing it to Half-Life 2's less-than-cut-and-dry denouement. He also preemptively addressed any fears that the series will stray from its roots, saying Valve has "to be considerate to our audience in terms of giving them what they want."