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HL2 Episode 2 Not Until Spring 2007 78

eToyChest has an article up entitled Half-Life 2 Bite-Sized Contempt. The author registers his dissatisfaction with the state of episodic content so far on Steam. While he liked Episode One, the projected released date early next year makes it hard to be excited. From the article: "Episodic content could really take off if done correctly, something which so far hasn't been the case. Episodes need to be of decent quality, arrive in a timely manner, and be made available for an attractive price. Then you will create a slam-dunk impulse-buy environment that solidifies the marketplace as a viable one — think iTunes Music Store for games."
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HL2 Episode 2 Not Until Spring 2007

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  • Early and often (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PIPBoy3000 ( 619296 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @12:47PM (#15549641)
    As someone who put out a number of Neverwinter Nights mods (for free), the more successful mods are those that came out soon after the game's release. After that, having regular sequels ever few months was key. Anything more than six months or so is too long to keep people's attention.
    • But this is Valve. HL2 was delayed eons, but it was still spectacular. And HL2E1 was great.
      Valve is like Pixar. I'll take the delay because I know I won't be disappointed with what they crank out.
      • I haven't bought the first episode, but I will give my opinion anyway.

        I'd have no problem if they had a single game that was delayed for 1 or 2 years. I know I'd be getting quality in the end. But if I just bought the first part to a game, then realized I'd have to wait a whole year before I saw how the story continues, I'd be fairly angry.

        And then how's it turn out if I wait a year or two, then the second and third episodes aren't really good? Then it'll just seem like the Matrix.
    • I'd agree that the pricing scheme combined with the release schedule doesn't seem to be the best form of delivery. If they are going to take a year between episodes and each episode is 5 hours of gameplay, then they might as well just wait and release it all at once as an expansion.

      However, this is Half-Life 2 we're talking about. It could be 2 hours of gameplay at $20 and a year apart between releases and people would still buy it. I know I will.
      • However, this is Half-Life 2 we're talking about. It could be 2 hours of gameplay at $20 and a year apart between releases and people would still buy it. I know I will.

        And with that statement, you just justified the entire episodic content business model.
        • Re:Early and often (Score:3, Informative)

          by ionpro ( 34327 )

          And with that statement, you just justified the entire episodic content business model.

          Maybe for Valve, but Valve is trying to change what happens with the INDUSTRY here, not just with their games. You have a few iDs and Valves out there for whom this is true, but you have a thousand times more Rituals for whom it's not so true. I won't be buying Sin Episode 2 if it's not delivered in a timely manner. Remember: video games are a $7 BILLION industry [theesa.com] [PDF Alert!]. Valve has multi-million dollar games[1], bu

  • Makes sense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lord Bitman ( 95493 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @12:49PM (#15549656) Homepage
    They're still playing half-life, a game that came out two years ago. Doesnt that imply that they arent the type to drop money on "new" content every month?
    • I'd think so. I wouldn't buy 5 hours of gameplay for $20.
    • No, because HL2 was an amazing game. Hell I'll still break out Deus Ex from time to time, just because it's an extremely entertaining game despite the dated technology... much more entertaining than almost everything that's come out since. There's more to a fun game than using the latest Shader 2.0 X3 specs in the engine.
    • Re:Makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hal9000(jr) ( 316943 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @01:11PM (#15549824)
      Doesnt that imply that they arent the type to drop money on "new" content every month?

      Not necessarily. I think it means that HL1 is that good. I have both HL1 and HL2 installed but I mostly stick with HL2 mainly becuase I like the game play better. With the exception of Ravenholm (still creeps me out), most of the combat in HL2 is against things that shoot back which I prefer.

      However, I think HL1 had better, more engaging, combat against soldiers. The warehouse asassins were fun to shoot. The endless mob fights got tiresome, however

      I would happily pay for eposodic if the fights were unique and challenging enough.
      • With the exception of Ravenholm (still creeps me out), most of the combat in HL2 is against things that shoot back which I prefer.

        I refer to Ravenholm as the "silent hill" section of the game. Personally I don't like it that much, its dark, creepy, and not all that entertaining. Unlike other sections where I usually go off and explore every corner of the map, in Ravenholm I usually just try to go straight from beginning to end of the map. Actually if you think about the "big picture" the HL2 map is kind

    • While I'm sure you mean HL2, HL1 was out in 1998 and it still has a huge number of people playing it. Checkout http://steampowered.com/status/game_stats.html [steampowered.com] Steam's Network status: 1. the original Counter-Strike and Half-Life's Deathmatch is just below HL2:Deathmatch at #7.
    • I played HL2 when it came out. Finished it. Liked it a lot. Never replayed it. I preordered Episode 1 because I wanted more of the same kind of action. I also enjoyed Episode 1 but it was over too soon. I think the biggest problem is that the short amount of content isn't really satisfying. Just as you are really getting into it, the game is over. And now we have to wait more than 6 months for the next part.
      I'm not even a fan of long shooters. I prefer shorter, tighter designs with less repetiion to longer
  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @12:56PM (#15549701)
    $20 is too steep for 5 hours of gameplay. If they had released this same amount of content for $10, you wouldn't be seeing nearly as much complaining. The reviews on this game are almost universally positive, with the only complaints I've seen being the price for what you get.

    As far as how long it takes between episodes, I'd rather Valve take the time to make each episode fun and engaging rather than throwing out half-assed garbage every 3 months. Of course, one of the primary problems with episodic gaming (and episodic novel writing, or episodic television, or whatever) is there is an enormour amount of pressure to rush out new content to keep the salivating masses happy, and quality can easily suffer.
    • Hell, I'd even go for $15, but I agree that $20 is too much. I just keep thinking "For $10 more I could buy another DS game" and then I clear out the order form.
    • I'd disagree. Premium DVDs float around the $20-$25 mark (or very premium in the $30-$40 realm) and on a personal level I think Valve is worth it.

      People would always find something to complain about. If everyone's focusing on price that just means they had to find something TO complain about, and it defeats the purpose. "I'd like all the story, interaction, scripted events, fluid gameplay, commentary track and everything else you gave us...but for half the price."

      Plus you still have replay value, and oth
      • I'd disagree. Premium DVDs float around the $20-$25 mark (or very premium in the $30-$40 realm) and on a personal level I think Valve is worth it.

        Agreed. Also, I have to say that the gameplay in Ep. 1 was extremely tight. I enjoyed HL2, but there were long periods that felt a lot like filler (eg, "get out of the buggy, cross the bridge, disable the forcefield, cross back, get back in the buggy..."). Not so with episode 1. I'm playing through it again now for the third time.

        ALYX got to use the smegging sni

    • I agree. Luckily Episode 1 has been available several places for $12.99 and as low as $7.99 at Circuit City recently. It isn't a secret that if you wait just a week or so and the prices drop for sales.
    • Circuit City's weekly ad showed it for $7.99. Now, that's worth it.
    • $10 for 5 Chapters of gameplay... I think you are kidding yourself, honestly when was the last time that you could find a decent game for 10$ that wasn't bargain bin. Don't answer that because it just doesn't happen... $20 for a third of a Half-Life 3(alright 2.5)... sounds decent... that's a third of the price for the full game for a third of the content... a Five chapter book for 20$ when the full 15 chapter book was about 60. Guess what... it's the SAME PRICE...
    • Why is it too much? Games sell for $60 now new. They typically offer 15-20 hours of gameplay. Sounds to be the ratio is exactly right. People are saying "Well, I can go get Half-Life 2 for $25"... well, you can NOW. I'm sure in a year, Episode 1 will be $5 or $10. If you don't want to pay new, just wait as you always have. If you wait until Episode 3 is released, I bet you can get a sweet deal on the three of them.
      • ### Why is it too much? Games sell for $60 now new. They typically offer 15-20 hours of gameplay. Sounds to be the ratio is exactly right.

        They can reuse a lot of artwork, models, engines an stuff in episodic content, so comparing it to a full game deveolped from scratch isn't fair, its additional content, not a new game so it should be priced lower. Beside from that new PC games are still more in the range of $40-$50, not $60 (thats only XBox360), so something like $15-10 seems like a much better price for
  • Not delayed (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Of course no one contacted Valve about this as they said today that the game is still on track for a Holiday 2006 released according to 1up.
    http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3151546 [1up.com]
  • Augh! (Score:2, Insightful)

    Auuuughhh! Gaaaahhh! Grrrrr! That's a right pain in the ass, isn't it?

    You know what, this just may have changed my mind on the whole episodic thing. Not that Episode One wasn't great - it was absolutely awesome in content, if an hour or two shorter than I'd have liked, but spacing the episodes this far appart really makes this model a lot less attractive. It's bad enough with TV, where by the time one season premiers you've totally forgotten or just lost interest in the cliffhanger from the previous seas
    • Re:Augh! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TychoCelchuuu ( 835690 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @01:10PM (#15549807) Journal
      Valve says they're still releasing this year. Whoever wrote this article says he got his news from the PC Gamer article, and print magazines are almost always out of date.
    • It's bad enough with TV, where by the time one season premiers you've totally forgotten or just lost interest in the cliffhanger from the previous season's finale, and that's usually just a three or four month gap.

      Seriously? Try HBO. Good content even if the seasons are a bit short (10-12 episodes) and you have to wait a year for the next season. Sounds ridiculous right? Except it's some of the best programming on TV... It works for me, and for the moment, so does HL2E1.
    • while I understand your sentiment, I disagree. I bought episode one, and was still excited to play it for the story even though it has been a year and a half since HL2 was released. I may not have been itching for its release, but when valve started hyping it, I remembered that I wanted to see where the story went. However, I may not be representative of the population as a whole, and a year can be quite a while to wait for something.
  • if this is their definition of episodic, then they might as well make each episode even longer. i'm not that great a player, but i finished hl2:ep1 a little too quick for my taste. personally i barely had time to really get into the game before i realized that it was already done.

    anyways, i guess its back to looking for some good mods to pass the time. or maybe its time to switch to a new engine entirely....i wonder if there is a oldschool command and conquer mod for CnC:Generals. that would be fun...bah..t
  • I just wish I could install Episode 1. I bought the boxed version but whenever I try to install it the filepath to steam doesn't work, it says c:/programfiles/steam\STEAM.EXE, which isn't a valid file path.. hence doesn't work and you can't chnage it. This is happened with 2 DVDs..

    Steam support is terrible and no one seems to know a cure. Anyone got an idea?
    • Might it be the '\' you have there instead of the '/' it should be?
    • Do you already have Steam installed? If so, then you should be able to put in the cd key you got for Episode 1 and download and install it directly from Steam. It might take a bit longer to download, but it should work. If you don't have Steam installed, download and install it and follow the above.
    • EMP the Steam servers out of existence - it's the only way to get their attention by hitting them directly in their wallets. Then they'll fucking listen up - They still haven't fixed my issue with HL2 - I bought the 6-CD version, BRAND-NEW from Worst-Buy, and they said the keycode WAS ALREADY IN USE AND REGISTERED UNDER ANOTHER ACCOUNT.

      I'm ready to go up there and beat the ever-living shit out of everyone in the Valve office, personally. I bought this fucker a year ago and still have not had my issue resolv
      • I just bought the game about a month ago from a retail store (mistake -- the price was nearly double of what it should have been, but I was impatient).

        When I finally got to installing the game, Steam told me the key was registered. I was pissed at first, but then took digicam pics of the serial and the receipt and sent them to Valve via their support site [steampowered.com], along with a message where I described the situation. They took nearly a week to respond, but when they did, their response was to grant me my key back
  • In very very recent interviews, I'm talking about ones done a mere week ago with Valve, they consistently mentioned December 2006 as the release date. Considering that its development started around the same time as Episode One, I really thought that Episode Two would make it by then.

    Is PC Gamer the only source of this Spring 2007 release date? I know this is Valve we're talking about, but I'm still thinking it could be a miscommunication, and Valve still thinks it's coming out at the end of 2006.
  • Yeah, I mean, the release dates are way too far apart. I mean, if E2 doesn't come out until 2007, I'm just not playing it. Forget it. If Valve can't turn around the next segment in two months, they just can't keep my attention.

    You know, forget that Valve makes really great games, or that they're probably really hard to make. They just need to work harder.

    Seriously, what the hell? How many years do we wait between movie sequels? TV seasons? Are you really saying that episodic content as a concept is a
    • I think the point the article was trying to make is that if we're going to be waiting so long for the installments anyway, why not just release an expansion when the new story arc is completed?

      Now, maybe I'm very wrong here, but shouldn't the dev time be much shorter when the engine is done, the character models (or most of them at least) are done, and many of the environments can be recycled from the first game?

      Isn't all that's left writing the story, placing the enemies, and scripting the events?
      • Isn't all that's left writing the story, placing the enemies, and scripting the events?

        Absolutely. Why, personally I can build a new MINERVA [hylobatidae.org] episode every week or so, starting work on a Monday and releasing on a Friday. It's just throwing some pre-existing game content together, after all. The hard work has been done already, hasn't it?

        Actually, it takes me about six months to produce half an hour to an hour of gameplay. Yes, that's in my spare time, but I have to keep 90% of what I produce - I don't do
        • You've sort of made my ponit for me. They're a development house. A whole team of people that aren't working in their spare time. And even if the engine was tweaked for Ep1, unless something was very wrong with it, why should it be changed again for Ep2. I thought the point of episodic content was to get the games to the players faster.

          This way, you've got people developing for an engine they know doing things that are very familiar to them. The balance issues have already been worked out, the weapons are a

      • I can understand the 6 months(Looks like that 2007 date is wrong, still on track for december apparently). I thought that the writing, placing, and scripting should be pretty simple too, but after playing through the commentary mode, I can appreciate the amount of time it takes. I was suprised to find out how complicated their design process is. You may or may not have played the game through again on commentary mode.

        I found it enlightening. Added a bit of extra value I appreciated.

        For those reading who hav
  • Although the article has already been deemed innacurate on it's main point, it's still makes valid points. The new chapter was too short for the price, and the time between episodes is too long. I'd like to add my own point: Steam sucks. Easily the most bug ridden piece of crap I have ever seen come out of a profesional studio. I hadn't run it since I finished HL2 almost a year ago, and when I started it, it crashed twice trying to update itself. Upon trying to purchase the game it locked up validating my
    • I couldn't agree with you more about the quality of the Steam application. It's ugly. Thankfully when I finished writing finals for three courses today (phew!), I had a wonderful experience buying and playing E1. It downloaded fairly quickly at around 200-400kb or so. The rate moved around quite a bit which was a little odd. I'm on a uni line during summer term so it'll take whatever can fit through the 10mbit port in my wall. But my amusement over the strange up and down rate didn't bother me. I started th
  • So in the end, we will be waiting the same length as we would if Valve were to just go ahead and make a full length sequal to HL2 (which they recently admitted HL2: E is actually HL3) but in the form of 3 episodes at $20 a pop.

    I got episode 1 and enjoyed it till the ending, it left me wanting more but as time has gone on I have started caring less and less. I'll end up getting EP2 when it's released as I will ep3 but I Might just wait till all 3 episodes are out before I do.

    I knew Episodic content was
  • FTA:

    The rumor mill has justified the delay by saying Episode 2 will bring big changes to the Source engine and create new game experiences. I wouldn't mind that at all, but that is NOT what you use episodic content to market. Save it for Half-Life 3, and have the content team work with the status quo for Half-Life 2 episodes while the engine team finalizes the changes to Source.

    If the writer isn't even aware that these episodes are HL3, then I don't put much stock in his release dates either. As the inter [eurogamer.net]

    • The writer, me, quoted the dates from a well identified source. Leveling criticism of those dates or their accuracy at me is pretty stupid.

      My point was that grand, glorious upgrades that require year long delays should not be part of an episodic content release schedule, and was not some pedantic reliance on whaterver naming scheme they want to use or not use. If they ever do another big monolithic Half-Life game (which may or may not ever happen) it will probably be called Half-Life 3.

      Thanks for reading th
  • Valve started work on Ep. 1 and Ep. 2 simultaneously. This is why they have enough content available at Ep. 1's release that they were actually able to make a trailer for Ep. 2. This is also why a release date for #2 that's six months after #1 isn't that hard to swallow. This is also why #3 is slated for next Christmas, cause they're probably just starting work on that one now.

    I think most of you have no idea what goes into making a game, in terms of skills, time, anything like that. As an experienced mappe
    • Haha. Thanks, you took one for the team. It frustrates me to no end that people just can't bring themselves up to a level where they can actually empathise with the developers. Mostly, I just assume that they're kids and hope they'll eventually learn. I try not to think of the masses of adults who don't, and will never, "get it." It's much better to think of those people as 14 year olds so I don't get angry.

      I think everyone wants Episode 2 to be amazing. Valve isn't trying to make a 22-episode season here.
  • I agree that episodic games can be successful, even at a $20 price point, if they are done in a timely manner. Look at series DVDs, like Anime, Lost, 24, etc. These DVDs usually cost about $15-$20, and only contain 2 or 3 episodes, which is about 4 hours, or less. A 5 hour game that costs $20 is either equal or greater value. However, just like a series, if the next episode takes too long to become available, then I start forgetting what has happened, pick up another interest, or just stop caring about
  • I'm sure Valve's move to episodic content had more to do with squeezing money out of customers than anything else. $20 for 5-6 hours is exactly what Gabe Newell wants, with low low distribution costs courtesy of Steam. Oh, and no "used game" market to suck off future sales.

    So now I look forward to 25% of a game every year? I've given up on the story... since apparently they have too. How about answering some questions about what the hell is going on? I've lost track of the dead-end plot points and supp

  • I loved HL2, loved ep 1 apart from the fact that it crashes avery dman half hour. I would get much more excited about episode 2 if they could get episode 1 to work, so many people have had crashes with ep 1 ( http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread. php?s=af9613eb805c3b3e392eba8461620be3&threadid=44 3922 [steampowered.com]) it needs sorting before ep 2.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"