Half-Life 2: Episode 4 officially dead.

Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman Registered User regular
edited September 2008 in Games and Technology
You know, Episode 4? The third party episode with a stand alone plot?

Oh, you don't know about it? Well, I don't blame you, being that it was only ever mentioned once in a PC Gamer article. Here's the article from PC Gamer magazine (US), April 2006, pp. 22.
gabe_interview.jpg

Transcript if you can't read it.
The World According to Gabe
Valve's Gabe Newell reveals the future of Half-Life and tells us why episodic gaming is going to rule.


Be honest now: how many single-player games have played all the way through? Gabe Newell, the founder and managing director for Valve, is better that it's fewer than it should be. And he has a solution: episodic gaming.
"I think it's going to be interesting to see how gamers respond," says Newell about Episode 1, the first in a planned series of serialized playable "episodes" that will continue the Half-Life storyline. Each stand-alone episode will be shorter than a full sized game, taking roughly four to six hours to complete and will be available at the relatively low price of $19.99.
Newell confirms to PC Gamer that Episodes 1 through 4 are currently slated. And while we couldn?t pin him down to a release schedule, he says the plan is to be "pretty frequent" when unveiling new episodes - ideally six to eight months between releases.
Considering that it took five years to make Half-Life 2, how will Valve make this happen? By divvying up the work.
Inside Valve, two teams will be responsible for finishing Episode 1-3, a triumvirate that Newell says will wrap up Half-Life 2s current story arc. Episodes 1 and 2 began development simultaneously by separate teams; when Episode 1 goes live, its team will shift gears to Episode 3. Episode 4 will have a stand-alone plot and is being developed outside of Valve.
Newell believes that episodic gaming will kick off a renaissance in PC gaming, allowing developers to create condensed, fun experiences that its customers will actually finish and do so without the comparatively large financial risk of making a ful-sized game that may tank your company if it fails.
"In a way, fans are your venture capitalists," says Newell. Instead of relying on a publisher to bankroll a single big-budget epic, episodic games may allow developers to remain independent by using the profits from one chapter to make the next.
So, will there be a Half-Life 3? Newell says it depends on how well Episode 1 and its follow-ups sell. Preferring to continue the story of Half-Life episodically, he foresees using the format to branch out into other genres and take chances that Valve otherwise wouldn?t take. (High on his wishlist? A third-person tactical game set in the Half-Life universe.)
What's more, developers can receive immediate feedback from fans that can influence the next installment - a dynamic that Newell finds essential. "What's it all about?" he ponders. "Getting developers closer to gamers."

After a bit of debate on this forum about the validity of the article, I myself went ahead and e-mailed Gabe Newell about it. Here's what I asked and what he said
Me: Awhile back, PC Gamer attributed you as saying that there was going to be an Episode 4 for HL2 in an article titled "The World According to Gabe." This episode was said to have a stand-alone plot (Not part of the 1-3 trilogy of episodes) and would be made outside of Valve. Is this still the case, or was the quote just incorrect or mistaken in the first place?

Thanks for reading this.

Gabe: It's correct.
However, that e-mail was from November 5th, 2006, so it was pretty out of date. On September 4th 2008, another fan e-mailed Gabe asking about the project and got this response.

http://img258.imageshack.us/img258/5435/84714261ss3.jpg
That specific project isn't going to happen.

So, basically the half-life episode hardly anyone knew existed isn't going to be made, and had I not posted this thread, the vast majority of you would never have known what you're now never going to get.

...Uh, you're welcome?

Undead Scottsman on
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Posts

  • SheepmanSheepman Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Except episodes are short and expensive and in valves case, few and far between...

    Sheepman on
  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    What just happened here?

    subedii on
  • darleysamdarleysam UKRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    darth_vader_nooo.jpeg

    I didn't even know anything about it, other than I wanted it.

    Although I guess it could be possible that it's just merged with something else, like an extra-long Episode 3.

    Right?

    :(

    darleysam on
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  • theantipoptheantipop Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I wonder who the third party was supposed to have been.

    theantipop on
  • artooartoo Registered User
    edited September 2008
    This makes me a bit sad, but I'm sure Episode 3 will be great.

    artoo on
  • BartholamueBartholamue Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Is Episode 3 still going to exist?

    Bartholamue on
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  • artooartoo Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Is Episode 3 still going to exist?

    Yesh.

    artoo on
  • RancedRanced Default Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    i'm still waiting for episode 3 so eh

    Ranced on
  • mrflippymrflippy Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    So, basically the half-life episode hardly anyone knew existed isn't going to be made, and had I not posted this thread, the vast majority of you would never have known what you're now never going to get.

    Actually, I had just assumed that they would continue releasing episodes.

    I guess that's not the case though :(

    mrflippy on
  • Recoil42Recoil42 Registered User
    edited September 2008
    If anything, it just sounds to me like it's been folded into Half-Life 3. *shrug*

    Recoil42 on
  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Recoil42 wrote: »
    If anything, it just sounds to me like it's been folded into Half-Life 3. *shrug*

    Sounds to me like it just got killed outright. I imagine that it was going to more akin to in style to the HL1 expansions than the HL2 episodes, hence why they were going to have a separate company make it and give it a stand alone plot. 'course, so little was known about it that it about the only thing we can be sure of now is that it didn't turn into Portal.

    Undead Scottsman on
  • maximumzeromaximumzero I...wait, what? New Orleans, LARegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I just wish we would get more Combine backstory. It's like when you start HL2 the world is already invaded. I'd like to know who they are, where they come from, reasons for invading, etc.

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  • ImpersonatorImpersonator Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I hate it when a game is canned even before I'm aware of it :(
    I just wish we would get more Combine backstory. It's like when you start HL2 the world is already invaded. I'd like to know who they are, where they come from, reasons for invading, etc.

    G-man... Now that's what I call a character

    Impersonator on
    Bioptic wrote: »
    Lemmings was pro-Communist propeganda. All are created equal, sorted into specific jobs and roles that they will hold for the rest of their lives by a higher authority, and must sacrifice continuously for the good of the group. Success is measured by meeting quotas and nothing else. Also, nuclear holocaust.
  • The_SpaniardThe_Spaniard Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I was waiting..

    The_Spaniard on
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  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON IndiaRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Maybe it was going to have been Gearbox.

    TychoCelchuuu on
  • OlivawOlivaw good name, isn't it? the foot of mt fujiRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    That's all right, as long as Episode 3 still exists and is being made and comes out really fucking soon

    Valve

    Olivaw on
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  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Olivaw wrote: »
    That's all right, as long as Episode 3 still exists and is being made and comes out really fucking soon

    Valve

    Awesome takes time. I'm happy to wait a year and a bit between episodes when they've managed to maintain the quality of the series and made improvements with each instalment.

    subedii on
  • ZekZek Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Adding a stand-alone plot to the HL2 series would have been stupid anyway.

    Zek on
  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Portal was good, and it's plot was very stand alone.

    Undead Scottsman on
  • ZekZek Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Portal was good, and it's plot was very stand alone.

    It also wasn't a HL2 episode.

    Zek on
  • ImpersonatorImpersonator Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Zek wrote: »
    Adding a stand-alone plot to the HL2 series would have been stupid anyway.

    Blue Shift and Opposing Force say hi to Zek!

    Impersonator on
    Bioptic wrote: »
    Lemmings was pro-Communist propeganda. All are created equal, sorted into specific jobs and roles that they will hold for the rest of their lives by a higher authority, and must sacrifice continuously for the good of the group. Success is measured by meeting quotas and nothing else. Also, nuclear holocaust.
  • Desert_Eagle25Desert_Eagle25 Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Zek wrote: »
    Adding a stand-alone plot to the HL2 series would have been stupid anyway.

    Blue Shift and Opposing Force say hi to Zek!

    God I really loved Blue Shift and Opposing Force. It was so fun to think "The only reason Gordon Freeman made it this far was cause I saved his ass like a dozen times. And he doesn't even know it!" Fucking rad.

    Desert_Eagle25 on
  • Shoegaze99Shoegaze99 Registered User
    edited September 2008
    I just wish we would get more Combine backstory. It's like when you start HL2 the world is already invaded. I'd like to know who they are, where they come from, reasons for invading, etc.
    Depriving you of that is why Half-Life 2 pulls off the narrative trick when so many other games fail. It leaves you wanting, but in a good way. Were Valve to get in there and tell the invasion story, much of HL2's power would be sapped away. Same theory applies to books and film, too. The setting and story is more powerful because of how much (or little) we know, and because out imagination is allowed to fill in the gaps. We can envision a better invasion than any game will ever show us ... so as much as we WANT to see this stuff (I do, too), it's for the best that we don't.

    Shoegaze99 on
  • darren66darren66 Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    So very frustrated at the speed at which these episodes are being released. If you can't release once a month, then don't bother with episodic content!

    darren66 on
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  • RakaiRakai Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Shoegaze99 wrote: »
    I just wish we would get more Combine backstory. It's like when you start HL2 the world is already invaded. I'd like to know who they are, where they come from, reasons for invading, etc.
    Depriving you of that is why Half-Life 2 pulls off the narrative trick when so many other games fail. It leaves you wanting, but in a good way. Were Valve to get in there and tell the invasion story, much of HL2's power would be sapped away. Same theory applies to books and film, too. The setting and story is more powerful because of how much (or little) we know, and because out imagination is allowed to fill in the gaps. We can envision a better invasion than any game will ever show us ... so as much as we WANT to see this stuff (I do, too), it's for the best that we don't.

    It makes no sense though when you try to apply the logic that "you are Gordon" when if you were Gordon you would just turn to the nearest guy and just ask "what the hell is going on?".

    Rakai on
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  • chasmchasm Ill-tempered Texan Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Maybe it was going to have been Gearbox.

    Weird. That's exactly what I was thinking.

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  • OneEyedJackOneEyedJack Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Rakai wrote: »
    It makes no sense though when you try to apply the logic that "you are Gordon" when if you were Gordon you would just turn to the nearest guy and just ask "what the hell is going on?".

    "Pardon me Dr. Freeman"

    OneEyedJack on
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  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Half-Life 2 sorely needed a few bits of in-game exposition. We still have no motivations for the main enemies; we don't even have an explanation of what the Combine are doing TO Earth, let alone on it.. A critical event that sets up the entire story in HL2 (the invasion) hasn't been detailed in the slightest (a couple of headlines on a wall in the game don't count in the least; neither does a separate making-of book), and as someone said, there is NO REASON for this. Sure the characters expect Gordon to know this shit already, but in-game there's no reason why "Gordon" wouldn't ask about what the hell is going on and out-of-game we face the cold hard fact that the game wasn't designed by the characters, it was designed by Valve and they could have easily have weaved more exposition into the game. Have Gordon show up while Eli is in a strategy meeting instead of just chilling with a vortigaunt.

    Seriously; the story is about as "there" as it is in Gears of War (with the exception that Gears actually forgot to explain that a plot twist happened partway through the game; in the 360 version at least).

    Undead Scottsman on
  • DarlanDarlan Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I'm also irritated at how little we know about the G-man. I know, being mysterious is kinda his thing, but when his actions set up EVERYTHING I'd like to know more than...nothing.

    Still, it may be good that there will be no Episode 4 in that they might have a more conclusive ending to Episode 3.

    Darlan on
  • PolloDiabloPolloDiablo Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Yeah, the lack of any exposition is why I consider HL2 to have such a poor story. As far as I'm aware, you're Gordon Freeman, soulless killing machine who only knows how to hate. Why did I just kill fifty men? I needed to turn a valve up here, and they had the bad luck to be in my way.

    Gordon isn't a character, he's a floating gun.

    Er, on topic. I didn't know it was coming. I don't miss it.

    PolloDiablo on
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  • VerrVerr Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Well, we know that the combine are slowly sucking the ocean out of the earth, and are trying to destroy the human populations. The only humans they are keeping alive are the ones they use for their freaking genetic expiration. Or food.

    The G-Man is harder, he seems to be a sort of, agent, if you will, for Freeman. Using him for some unknown purpose. It has been mentioned that Freeman is some sort of mercenary, whose "contract" can be bought. Maybe he is a soulless killing machine, but one who can be influenced, or perhaps his mind is being tampered with to portray the "targets" as enemies.

    Verr on
  • PharezonPharezon Struggle is an illusion. Victory is in the Qun.Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Verr wrote: »
    Well, we know that the combine are slowly sucking the ocean out of the earth, and are trying to destroy the human populations. The only humans they are keeping alive are the ones they use for their freaking genetic expiration. Or food.

    The G-Man is harder, he seems to be a sort of, agent, if you will, for Freeman. Using him for some unknown purpose. It has been mentioned that Freeman is some sort of mercenary, whose "contract" can be bought. Maybe he is a soulless killing machine, but one who can be influenced, or perhaps his mind is being tampered with to portray the "targets" as enemies.

    Valve isn't that deep.

    Pharezon on
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  • dcleedclee Registered User
    edited September 2008
    I know it's been said a million times, but I still want a game where you get to play as Adrian Shepherd again.

    dclee on
  • HadjiQuestHadjiQuest Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    chasm wrote: »
    Maybe it was going to have been Gearbox.

    Weird. That's exactly what I was thinking.

    I bet it was, but the Halo game they're most likely developing right now probably caused them to shift a lot of their priorities around.

    HadjiQuest on
  • vegeta_666vegeta_666 CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Pharezon wrote: »
    Verr wrote: »
    Well, we know that the combine are slowly sucking the ocean out of the earth, and are trying to destroy the human populations. The only humans they are keeping alive are the ones they use for their freaking genetic expiration. Or food.

    The G-Man is harder, he seems to be a sort of, agent, if you will, for Freeman. Using him for some unknown purpose. It has been mentioned that Freeman is some sort of mercenary, whose "contract" can be bought. Maybe he is a soulless killing machine, but one who can be influenced, or perhaps his mind is being tampered with to portray the "targets" as enemies.

    Valve isn't that deep.

    I'm pretty sure that Verr is right, at least, that's I remember reading about the story and such.

    This would probably help on this topic.

    vegeta_666 on
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  • Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA
    edited September 2008
    I actually just finished up the Orange Box for the very first time this weekend. Obviously, reading this thread, I know Episode 3 isn't out yet. Do we have any idea on when to expect it? And since my computer is a craven stone-age thing that wouldn't even recognize Half Life 2 as a game, have they said anything about 360 owners of Orange Box can expect when it drops?

    Bionic Monkey on
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  • KenninatorKenninator Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    dclee wrote: »
    I know it's been said a million times, but I still want a game where you get to play as Adrian Shepherd again.

    Me too.

    But I feel that Half Life is becoming the Lost of video games, more questions than answers. I only get the sense that they know what's gonna happen from the fact the game has been around for so long, and they wouldn't just make it up as they go. Right? ... RIGHT?

    Kenninator on
  • MazrimMazrim Registered User
    edited September 2008
    There was an Episode 3?

    Mazrim on
  • OlivawOlivaw good name, isn't it? the foot of mt fujiRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I think what Half Life 2 tries to do is set up this universe, make it seem as real and believable as possible, and leave the rest up to your imagination

    The details of the invasion aren't a real mystery. We know they used a bunch of those giant portal dealies to invade the major population centers and fuck shit up. We know it lasted seven hours. And we know that humanity got it's ass royally kicked. What more is required?

    The details of what the Combine are doing and why they're here aren't important, at least not yet. If they go into it in Episode 3 odds are we'll all be satisfied with the explanation. If they don't, well, they're aliens using humans as slave labor and guinea pigs for genetic and cybernetic experimentation, and they're draining the oceans. Not much we can really discern from that other than they're evil aliens and they might want our natural resources, and really, what more do we need to know? They're bad guys, we kick their ass. Simple, at least right now

    The G-Man is just. I don't even know. He's the big mystery, and being mysterious is kind of his thing. I imagine even if we ever learn anything about him, it won't be a lot

    Olivaw on
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  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Verr wrote: »
    Well, we know that the combine are slowly sucking the ocean out of the earth,
    Only by reading Raising the Bar. Anyone who just plays the game is in the dark. Sure the coastlines are lower, but that doesn't mean they're stealing the ocean.

    Even their greater designs for the human race are an unknown; sure we know they're making stalkers and transhuman soldiers; by why they're doing it is a mystery. Are they just mean? Do they think they're doing us a favor? Do they just see us as materials to be harvested?

    Like I said; their motivations are a complete mystery.

    Undead Scottsman on
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