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Where the hell is Half-Life 2: Episode Three?

What on earth is going on with Half-Life Episode 3? Will the game make an appearance in 2010, even though many thought it would come out in 2009? What are the possible reasons for this delay?

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Let's have a look at the release date schedule for the Half-Life 2 games
Game Release Date Days since last game
 Half-Life 2  November 2004  
 Half-Life 2: Episode One  June 2006  562 days (19 months)
 Half-Life 2: Episode Two  October 2007  496 days (16 months)
 Half-Life 2: Episode Three  ???  813 days + (26 months+)
With no release date in sight it’s looking likely that the time difference between the Episode Two and Episode Three will be close to double that from Episode One to Episode Two. Can you believe it’s been 5 years and one month since the release of Half-Life 2 and we are still waiting for Episode Three? So why has it taken so long?

Possible Reasons for the Delay

1. Other Valve products

Left 4 Dead 2 took the limelight from Valve for much of this year and it was a very quick turnaround for them, less than a year from Left 4 Dead. Now they would want to maximize the advertising potential of the product so they’d want to avoid talking about Episode Three and focus on pushing out the sequel to the zombie shooter without letting gamers focus on another game.

2. Lots of work to be done

It’s no secret that Episode Three is going to conclude the Half-Life 2 story thread. Just what kind of conclusions this will mean still remains a mystery. But you can probably expect more answers than possibly any Half-Life game before it. With the answers comes a lot of script, lots of play testing and probably a longer game to spread out story elements. They may even be investigating new tech for the somewhat aging Source engine on top of the proposed sign language for hearing impaired gamers.

3. Another “Orange” Box

Orange Box was a big success, it sold very well on consoles and even better on PC. It still remains to this day one of the best valued products with single and multiplayer components and something a bit fresh in portal. Portal 2 is surely on the cards, but what about another game? Counter-Strike 2 has been hinted at many times but Valve makes it sound like they have very little of it done. Maybe another game will be announced something perhaps as surprising as Portal was.

4. Leap Frog development

Episode Two was being developed when Episode One was being developed, that essentially gave them much more time for the second episode. This resulted in them having a turnaround of only 16 months. Episode Two was different as Valve had Team Fortress 2 and Portal to complete at the same time, now this year and last year they had Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. How big was their team working on Episode Three during these periods?

Possible release date

Predicting a release date for a Valve game would be harder than predicting the winning lottery numbers. That doesn’t mean it’s not fun to try. I personally thought Episode Three would make the 2009 calendar year but as 2010 rolls in we haven’t even seen much news about it.

In any case I suspect we will see the game middle to end of 2010 and as with all of the previous Valve titles I’m sure it will be more than worth the wait. Valve has yet to disappoint with the Half-Life series and this extra development time will surely make the game even better when it arrives.

We may even start seeing some news about the game in the first few months of 2010 so keep your eyes open for more information. I’ll leave you with some old concept art for Episode Three featuring the Borealis and Combine Advisors.  
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#3 Jan 2, 2010 18:05:00 (Jan 2, 2010 18:05)

more over I would really like to see a recreation of the series in a true next gen engine so that younger gamers can experience the first game all over again.  I'm very eager for project messah. 
#2 Jan 2, 2010 18:03:46 (Jan 2, 2010 18:03)

 I feel episode three will either be lager than the last two and stand alone or small and bundled with portal 2 and something multiplayer in some color themed box set.  I love half life, the series has been my favorite series of all time and the original was my favorite game of all time.  I'm really eager for the next episode, but even more eager for a totally new half-life chapter.
#1 Dec 31, 2009 15:22:14 (Dec 31, 2009 15:22)

Well the timing between Ep1 and Ep2 suggests that there is obviously not much time required to actually build and release the game. I think Valve just over-loaded themselves rigtht now with other projects. Unless Episode 3 is a full-length title, it shouldnt be taking this long.
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Half-Life 2: Episode Three
2 images added Dec 30, 2009 23:50
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