Half-Life 2: Episode Two - The Return of Team Fortress 2 and Other Surprises

Valve's Gabe Newell drops some major announcements regarding Episode Two, including Xbox 360 and PS3 support and the return of Team Fortress 2.

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Valve founder Gabe Newell dropped a number of bombshells regarding Half-Life 2: Episode Two at EA's summer press event. Newell revealed that the vaunted PC first-person shooter franchise is going to arrive on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and that the PC and console versions will ship with not only a new single-player game called Portals, but also with Team Fortress 2, the ambitious multiplayer game that Valve tried to develop in the late '90s but that quietly disappeared later on.

Half-Life 2 fans are already aware of the episodic content that Valve is producing, in place of a Half-Life 3. Episode One, the first chapter, was released earlier this summer to great acclaim. Well, Episode Two won't just continue the story of Gordon Freeman, Alyx Vance, and the rest of humanity battling the alien Combine for control of Earth.

For one, Valve is planning to release Episode Two simultaneously on the PC, Xbox 360, and the PlayStation 3. And it wouldn't make sense to give the console players Episode 2, which is essentially the middle of the story, so the console versions of Episode Two will also include Half-Life 2, as well as Episode One. That's right, both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 players will be able to get their hands on the entire Half-Life 2 saga in one package.

In addition to that bombshell, Newell revealed that all versions of Episode Two will ship with a separate single-player game called Portals. This is something of an insanely inspired puzzle game that takes advantage of the Source engine, judging from the hilarious trailer that Newell showed. The trailer took the form of a training video for a new employee of an advanced corporation in the Half-Life 2 universe.

The video shows a diagram and explains that as an employee of this company, you may have to find the emergency exit to a certain room. However, there are often obstacles in your way, like a gaping chasm. No problem, because all you need to use is your Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device to create dimensional doorways that let you mess with reality. For example, if there's gaping chasm between you and your objective, just shoot a portal on the far side of the room, then shoot a portal open on your side, then enter the portal. You'll instantly transport from one side of the room to the next by walking through the portal (you'll even see yourself going through the portal).

That's the simplest example of how to use the portal gun. In other situations, you may be under fire by a gun droid. So all you need to do is shoot a portal open over the gun, then shoot a portal open beneath a crate, then watch the crate fall through the hole and crush the gun. It gets even crazier, and the diagrams shown in the trailer showed some incredibly crazy things that you can attempt, like creating a series of portals so that you're constantly chasing yourself. Some of the puzzles sound like they'll be "impossible," so the challenge will be to figure out how to use the portal gun.

This promises to be an incredibly puzzle-style first-person experience, which Newell says is part of the goal. "We wanted to take physics out of this domain as a tool that lets you bounce grenades around to how can we really change the game experience for our customers," he said.

Newell then dropped an even bigger bombshell by showing off Team Fortress 2. Those familiar with Valve's history know that Team Fortress 2 was an ambitious multiplayer action game that was supposed to come out after the original Half-Life. However, the game quietly disappeared after years of development, and it was assumed that Valve dropped the project.

Well, Team Fortress 2 is back and will be included with Episode Two, and it looks like nothing else on the market. Newell explained that Valve wanted to make this action game distinct, so the graphics (which use the Source engine) look like a Pixar-animated movie. To reinforce this, the various character classes in the game look like cartoon caricatures. These include the Medic with the huge needle or the Demoman with the sticks of explosives. Other classes include the Heavy, the Spy, the Scout, the Engineer, the Sniper, the Soldier, and the Pyro. Newell says that the goal with Team Fortress 2 is to create "the best-looking and best-playing class-based multiplayer game." Team Fortress 2 is certainly unique in appearance, so we'll see how it plays.

Valve will release more information about Episode Two and all this new content throughout the fall, and more announcements will be revealed as the year goes on. We'll obviously keep a close eye on it, so make sure to check back with us for more details.

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Avatar image for Tomtomtom1990
Tomtomtom1990

I swear to GOD if Valve doesn't optimize the Source engine for multiple cores, and we get a CRAP-ASS FRAMERATE, I am going to be PISSED with a capital P. I mean, practically every single PC port so far on the 360 has had a crappy framerate because PC engines are built for just one core, so the developer doesn't optimize it for multiple cores. And I am NOT playing through Half-Life 2 again. I don't care how pretty it looks. And you KNOW it's still going to have those DAMN LOADING SCREENS becuase Valve can't STREAM CONTENT becuase that would be ALL HARD AND STUFF SO WHO CARES LOL. Argh. And the A.I. is still pretty dumb. I don't know why the combine don't feel the need to get out of the way of moving vehicles. And Valve still hasn't made any real improvements to gameplay, besides throwing in a couple of vehicle segments here and there. You can't melee attack. You can't throw grenades with the click of a button. The environments are linear and somewhat repetitive. Why do people rever HL2 so much? What, exactly, is so damn special about it? I've played it. I've played it a dozen times. It's just your standard FPS with an fairly interesting story, and a few entertaining characters. I mean, is that it? I guess Halo's spoiled me. Damn you Bungie! >=(

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nemes1s3000

Developers should stop announcing release dates for games, they should just ship 'em out when ever they're ready and tell the media "Hey! It's ready!"

Avatar image for vmfstorm1
vmfstorm1

valve never "delays" they just release stuff when its ready, which in my opinion all developers should do to avoid "rushed" games

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dryden555

At least six months away -- kinda not caring

Avatar image for niel12_5
niel12_5

that was predictable << LINK REMOVED >>

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marric_johnson1

xboxic has some bad news for the ps3 and 360 users. check out the link below << LINK REMOVED >>

Avatar image for niel12_5
niel12_5

oh god, start your fanboy wars!

Avatar image for kaziechameleon
kaziechameleon

i want some more picks

Avatar image for Truth01
Truth01

I hope counterstrike comes with the console package.

Avatar image for CaptianPeachfuz
CaptianPeachfuz

Half Life II , best FPS period.

Avatar image for dcoy8
dcoy8

its coming out on ps3, 360 AND PC!!!! damn, i dont know which one to get! have the extreme graphics of the ps3? have the sweet shooter controller with the 360? or have the mouse and keyboard preciseness on the pc?!?!?

Avatar image for gamindude_basic
gamindude_basic

watch it get dilayed till 2008.

Avatar image for dc0079
dc0079

TF2 with cartoon graphics? What happen to the lip sync voice chat and all those other features in the origional? I'm still looking forward to it though.

Avatar image for usedtype
usedtype

First Prey, now TF2, what next? Could 2006 be the year for Duke Nukem Forever? Probably not. Still, a lot of appearently "dead" titles are coming out now. Let's just hope TF2 delivers better than Prey did.

Avatar image for Fauij
Fauij

NOICE

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perfect_chao

W00t.. guess what console this will run best on? the one with the ATI gpu :P

Avatar image for Platyphyllum
Platyphyllum

*gasp* HL2, HL2: Episode One, and HL2: Episode Two all in one package on the consoles! AWESOME! *faints*

Avatar image for chandler24
chandler24

THANKS GOD, this was what i wanted. Today i going to praise in a long time.

Avatar image for GoddBless
GoddBless

"swat2k this is awesome but.. i was actually hoping they would release a counter strike for the 360... guess not." I believe it comes with the package.

Avatar image for thepeter
thepeter

excelent...

Avatar image for swat2k
swat2k

this is awesome but.. i was actually hoping they would release a counter strike for the 360... guess not.

Avatar image for kkkknaruto
kkkknaruto

Awesme.......now i still g2a make my decision on wether to get a xbox 360 or ps3 ummmm.........

Avatar image for abdu4
abdu4

cool news

Avatar image for Wej_accept_it
Wej_accept_it

I frigging love the HL series but my PC can't play the new ones. (That and I hate Steam). This is quite possibly the best gaming news since Twilight Princess being availabe on Gamecube!!! YEAH! HL2! HL2! HL21

Avatar image for superkhy
superkhy

Valve is building hype with big promises! THIS IS TOTALLY NOT NEWS. well, it kinda is.

Avatar image for MurteiraNabo
MurteiraNabo

And... no one at Gamespot got hold of those trailers right? Sigh...

Avatar image for Conor_220
Conor_220

FrostyMilk Yes! TF2. "But how will people play Episode 3 on the consoles" What do u mean how will they play on consoles? Like you buy it and then put it into the drive and pickup the controller and then fun fun fun.

Avatar image for colindog
colindog

OMFG YES, O THANK YOU SWEET JESUS!! I LOVE HL2 IVE ALWAYS WANTED IT TO BE ON THE PS3! GOD YES!

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sossy1234

very ecxited... TF2 best fps ever

Avatar image for FrostyMilk
FrostyMilk

Yes! TF2. But how will people play Episode 3 on the consoles

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U1

Exactly, you NEED a mouse to play Half Life 2....

Avatar image for EvanO_O
EvanO_O

What about episode 3 though? Still, this is great news.

Avatar image for SlamminSammy
SlamminSammy

LMAO! TF2? I haven't heard that name since 1999.

Avatar image for Batman_Begins
Batman_Begins

I kinda had a feeling that Half-Life 2 and episodes 1 and 2 would make it in to next-gen consoles but Team Fortress 2 just came out of left field. This is great news!

Avatar image for ZosoFan
ZosoFan

PC and consoles will have similar graphics (high end) But if you own a 5000$ PC rig, you can probaly make it a little better. But even then probaly un-noticable anyway. Im done building high-end PC though in a few days though so i dont have to wait for HL2 or episode 1!!! BTW Episode 3 will probaly be a download via xbox live :)

Avatar image for sloppyj100
sloppyj100

whoa! didnt c that 1 coming, but wuts the point of releasing hl2, episode 1 and episode 2 all in 1 package, when ps3 and xbox 360 owners will just have to go out and buy episode 3 alone...i want to know whats going 2 happen with that but other than that its good news... p.s. -- will the ps3 versions graphics be better then the pc's or the same?...

Avatar image for True_Blu3
True_Blu3

Wow...This is the best news I have ever heard IN A LONG TIME! Go Valve!!

Avatar image for Killagorilla27
Killagorilla27

TF2!!! AWESOME! Half-Life 2 on the Xbox was solid (definitely not up there with the PC version, but still very playable and very awesome). But, it didn't have online anything. I'm really hoping that the XBL and Sony Online stuff really works out. But I'm ESPECIALLY pumped WAY THE HELL UP FOR TF2! FRIGGIN AWESOME!

Avatar image for ergo2497
ergo2497

OMG, holy crap, yes yes yes!

Avatar image for GamingMonkeyPC
GamingMonkeyPC

TF2 SCREENSHOTS / VIDEOS GIMME GIMME!

Avatar image for froggy19
froggy19

this is awesome, ive been hoping for so long that the half life series would come to the 360. Console players are ging to get like 5 games in one!

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Sentinelrv

Why does it say that the second trailer for Half-Life 2: Episode 2 is out. I just watched it and it's the exact same thing as the first trailer. There's nothing new in it at all.

Avatar image for CompDude2
CompDude2

Best gaming news I've heard in a long time!! When's it coming out?!?!

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ElementalFire

Wait, so Episode 3 will be released as an XBL download sometime in the future?

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sleepy1978

^^ is that english?

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TheVelvet

This is great news, I can't wait.

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hitman90

OMFG is have to get this

Avatar image for far-cry
far-cry

lol half life 2 on xbox faild 100% realy bate salese funny that the trying it again i still remeber gabe saying we wont try that again whit the quode { you woint se anny vale game on a console for a long time, after the faild xbox salese we doint se anny point on going on whit it } lol and here the go again lol sorse pc gameplay { NL magasine}

Avatar image for DDX2
DDX2

so do we get CS: S?

Avatar image for Death_Masta187
Death_Masta187

WOW TF2 is that the game that was going to come out in 1999??? lol... well now that EA is in on this I will not get it