Valve may reconsider episodic games

Written by Joe Martin

September 26, 2007 // 10:47 a.m.

Tags: #alyx #blade #emergence #episode #episodic #freeman #gordon #half-life #hl #orange-box #ritual #sin

When Valve first announced that Half-Life 3 would be made out of three smaller, episodic games, nobody really knew what to think at first. Sure, episodic games sounded good in theory, but it was a risky strategy and whether or not it was worth gambling with one of the best games evar was something that polarised gamers into distinct sides.

My opinion on episodic games has been well known for a while now, but one thing nobody has ever really clarified is just what the honchos at Valve think of how episodic gaming is working out.

Do the advantages of staying closer to evolving tech and to the consumer’s desires win out over the disadvantages of a constant pressure on developers and more strict release schedules?

In a recent comment to CVG, Gabe Newell has cleared that up just a little and has said that, if the market wishes, Valve may reconsider continuing with episodic games after Half-Life: Episode 3.

"I think what we really want to do is have a couple of examples out there - Episode One, and how long it was to play and how long it took to develop, Episode Two, Portal and TF2 and then the third part of the trilogy; and then sit down with the community and say, 'OK, so what do you want?"

With any luck then, those who hate episodes won't have long to wait until the idea gets canned. The Orange Box is out in a few weeks and, judging by our recent hands-on preview of Portal, the package is shaping up nicely.

Personally, I think episodic gaming is a great thing but it just isn't well suited to the FPS genre due to the traditionally long development cycles. What do you think? Let us know in the forums.

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