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.
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?