Half-Life 2: Episode 2

Spotlight

Valve's Doug Lombardi

Chatting about Portal and whether Orange Box will return.

The Orange Box

We pit EA's port against PC and 360.

Half-Life 2: Episode Two

What next in the parade of constant obstacles?

Key events

Chet Faliszek has left Valve

Portal and Left 4 Dead writer runs out of Steam.

Chet Faliszek has brought his 12 year career at Valve Software to a close, our sister site GamesIndustry.biz has revealed.

Images of Junction Point's cancelled Half-Life 2 episode reveal a snowy Ravenholm

There was once a plan to flesh out Half-Life 2 with multiple episodes. Valve itself created Episode One and Two. It announced a third. But this third episode, and others from other developers, failed to materialise as Half-Life 2 follow-ups were lost to the sands of time and became myth.

One of these non-Valve developed episodes was once in the works at Junction Point, the studio founded by legendary game maker Warren Spector (Deus Ex, System Shock). Spector has spoken of this before, telling Game Informer Junction Point was working on an episode "that would fill in one of the gaps in the Half-Life story".

Junction Point's episode involved a new tool called the Magnet Gun. Here's Spector:

Read more

Former Valve employee is suing the company for $3.1m

Alleges developer exploited minors for free labour, discriminated against transgender staff.

A jury ruled in favour of defendant Valve on 2nd November 2017, finding the plaintiff was not discriminated against for transgender or disability reasons, nor dismissed for such.

Valve-approved Half-Life 2: Update headed to Steam

Valve-approved Half-Life 2: Update headed to Steam

Combine it with the main game.

A new fan-made mod, Half-Life 2: Update, will be released for free on Steam tomorrow.

The Valve-blessed add-on brings improved lighting, effects, textures and bug fixes to the first-person shooter classic.

This will be the final version of Half-Life 2: Update, which was previously made available in earlier forms outside of Steam.

Read more

Minerva matter: The Half-Life 2 mod that opened the gates of Valve

Adam Foster's two-and-a-half-year job application for the world's most enigmatic game developer.

Adam Foster tells me he's "faintly terrified" by the response to his old Half-Life 2 mod Minerva being released on Steam. Tens of thousands have downloaded it in a couple of weeks and he didn't expect that, he insists. But then he also didn't expect the chain of events that unfolded after he first released Minerva back in 2005. Back then he worked for the European Railway Industry doing web development and programming. Today he talks to me from within the hallowed walls of Valve.

Gabe Newell named as next AIAS Hall of Famer

Oh they'll induct anyone have they no standards etc..

Such is his influence on the world of videogames and computing that it's a wonder Gabe Newell hasn't been inducted into the prestigious Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame already. This coming February at the 2013 D.I.C.E. summit will be his moment.

If there's one question Valve must be sick of hearing it's this: where is Episode 3? No-one's saying anything - not yet. But inquiring minds might find their own answers by playing through the preceding two episodes.

Half-Life 3 fan campaign staging mass gameplay session

Half-Life 3 fan campaign staging mass gameplay session

Up to 29,000 gamers to play Half-Life 2 this Saturday.

A fan campaign designed to encourage more Half-Life information from developer Valve plans a mass gameplay session this Saturday.

Steam group A Call for Communication (Half-Life), which boasts more than than 29,500 members, has organised a huge Half-Life 2 play session this weekend, designed to raise awareness of its campaign by boosting the game up Steam's most-played list.

The fan collective aims to encourage information from Valve on when the Half-Life series might return, be that in the form of Half-Life 2: Episode 3 or a fully-fledged Half-Life 3.

Read more

Why Chet Faliszek is Valve's Mr Awesome

"I walk around the hall with my iron fist."

On Valve's website sits a profile page, and on that profile page sits an entry for Left 4 Dead writer Chet Faliszek. It reads: "We are all still trying to figure out exactly what it is that Chet does at Valve, but at the very least he occupies office space on the 11th floor as self-proclaimed Mr. Awesome."

Steam Cloud to launch this week

Steam Cloud to launch this week

Centralise game data starting with L4D.

Valve has announced that Steam Cloud will launch this week.

Steam Cloud, announced at the end of May, centralises configuration data online so that you can access your controller and multiplayer settings (like spraypaint images for Counter-Strike) from any computer.

In future, Valve intends to centralise save-game data - the idea being that you could delete a Steam game and all its files and still be able to pick it up from the same spot, on any computer, years later.

Read more

Chunky Orange Box PS3 patch released

Chunky Orange Box PS3 patch released

Should remedy many of the problems.

EA has sneakily released a beefy patch to address problems with The Orange Box on PS3.

The 1.10 update is 128 MB, and unhelpfully has no associated documentation to outline the changes.

Early reports suggest friends not appearing on lists and certain accounts not connecting to the EA servers should no longer be a problem.

Read more

Valve may specialise in cracking games, but it's not doing badly with heart-lifting cuddly merchandise either - and Half-Life 2: Episode Two's Hunter is the latest addition.

Valve's Doug Lombardi

Chatting about Portal and whether Orange Box will return.

On a recent trip to Germany to see Left 4 Dead, of which more soon, we sat down with Valve's VP of marketing Doug Lombardi to talk about things. Things like Portal, and whether we'll see an Orange Box 2. Like everyone at Valve, Doug's job title is a bit misleading; he does a broad range of things across the company, and has even - as he points out here - dabbled in development to some extent. He also plays Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead with us when we fly over to see Valve, which is nice of him (it's nice of him to let us win all the time, too). Anyway, enough being nice about Doug - here are a few selected excerpts from our discussion, with more to come when we're allowed to talk about what the developer was actually in Germany to show off...

The Orange Box

The Orange Box

We pit EA's port against PC and 360.

Google "Valve's Gabe Newell and PS3" and you'll see why I approached this review with some trepidation.

Valve's Gabe Newell comes down hard on PS3

Valve: PS3 a "total disaster on so many levels"

Read more

HL2: EpTwo stats digested

Are we there yet?

We all had fun pouring ourselves over the new Steam hardware survey results last week, but accompanying those were also some Steam stats for Half-Life 2: Episode Two.

Those of you with brains like computers will probably have worked out that you can use your Portal gun in other Source-powered games like Half-Life 2 and its pair of episodes.

Half-Life 2: Episode Two

Half-Life 2: Episode Two

What next in the parade of constant obstacles?

Episode Two kicks off with Gordon Freeman climbing out of the twisted metal of a smoking train wreck. Is that a metaphor for Episode One? It's been both fun and slightly disappointing to rib Valve for the way in which its bold episodic experiment 'hit the buffers' as soon as it began in May of last year. 'Fun' in that it's oh-so-typical of Valve to be so far off with its release date predictions for the follow-up again that you can't help but give them a cheeky wink every time a new date emerges. It's disappointing because, well, we really wanted to believe that they could do what no other FPS developer had ever done and turn out three episodes of a triple-A game in the space of a year, as was the original plan.

But when, over Tacos, you hear Robin Walker's admission that the reason Episode Two slipped was simply because "it wasn't good enough", delaying it was clearly the right thing to do.

Maybe, deep down, the reaction to Episode One was just as significant in the decision to move the goal-posts. "Too short!" said some people. "Too constrained!" said others. "Not epic enough!" said another made up person. For the first time in the company's history it released a headline product with an average review score outside of the '90s, and its own online stat tracking system on Steam found that a worrying proportion of its devoted audience switched off long before the end. For a game as short as Episode One, that's a slap in the face.

Read more

Orange Box pre-load begins

Portal and Episode Two files.

Valve has started to pump up the volume along with the stereo and pre-load files for Half-Life 2: Episode Two and Portal.

Orange Box pre-orders get TF2 beta access

Valve has made The Orange Box available to pre-order on Steam ahead of what is now a 10th October activation date - and those who pre-order will be able to play the Team Fortress 2 beta from 17th September.

Orange Box will sell for USD 49.95 on Steam, and pre-purchases will get a 10 percent discount on that price, as well as a free copy of Peggle Extreme.

The compilation release - which consists of Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Team Fortress 2 and Portal - is also being produced for Xbox 360 and PS3. The 360 version will launch at the same time (at European retail 12th October) while the PS3 version is due a few weeks later.

Read more

Valve's Gabe Newell

On Orange Box, Steam, Wii controls, next-gen.

Gosh! It seems like only 3 months and 8 days ago that we last sat down for half an hour with Valve co-founder Gabe Newell, which is probably because that was when we last sat down with him. He said lots of things back then, so for our Games Convention chat this past week we were able to skip some of the pleasantries and talk in more depth about Orange Box, Steam, Wii controls and which is better PlayStations or Xboxes. Only kidding. Sort of. Plus we talked about those excellent TF2 movie shorts - have you watched the Soldier one yet? Read on also for Gabe using a swearword, which we think is an exclusive. Enjoy.

Valve narrows down release date

Valve narrows down release date

For EpTwo/TF2/Portal.

Word on the vine of grapes is that Valve has narrowed down Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Team Fortress 2 and Portal's cluster-release to 9th October.

The date comes courtesy of Shacknews, who spoke to Valve about it yesterday. When we popped over last month they were saying October, so it would seem to tally with that.

If the games do emerge on 9th October on Steam and at US retail though, we'd anticipate a wait of a few days before they emerge in UK shops, which traditionally toss out new games on Fridays.

Read more

Valve's Gabe Newell on, well, everything

Episodic, in-game ads, Steam, XBL, EA, you.

Originally published on GamesIndustry.biz, today's wide-ranging interview with Valve co-founder Gabe Newell touches on everything from the decision to extend Half-Life 2 episodically and introduce advertising to online multiplayer game Counter-Strike, to the future of the Steam business and what to expect from the next five years of gaming hardware. It also offers an insight into how Valve is structured, and why the developer believes listening to its customers is paramount to its success.

Valve talks Episode Two

David Speyrer, Gautam Babbar and Doug Lombardi open up.

By now you'll have read our extensive hands-on report on Half-Life 2: Episode Two. Well, hopefully. Having spent an hour working through each of the six sections Valve prepared for us to play, we sat down with programmer David Speyrer, designer Gautam Babbar and Valve's ever-present marketing director Doug Lombardi and talked about the development of Episode Two, the release date issue, and where things might be going in Episode Three.

HL2 Episode 2 vehicle teaser

Images of the Whip MIT Grad.

Having teased us mercilessly last week about the possibility of more Team Fortress 2 information in the coming weeks, Valve has chosen the Whip MIT Grad - the new vehicle introduced in Half-Life 2: Episode 2 - as the subject of this week's torment.

HL2: Episode 2 in winter

Orange and black box details.

Half-Life 2: Episode 2 today moved one step closer to completion as EA announced a winter (2007/2008) release date for the retail version of the game (last we heard it was summer).

Half-Life 2: Ep 2 vids

Three of them.

As you'll know if you've been keeping score, Valve has released a trio of new gameplay videos showing off the sorts of things you'll be getting up to in Half-Life 2: Episode Two next year.

Valve details Leipzig showing

Valve details Leipzig showing

Real-time demos, says Lombardi.

Valve's trio of new titles - Episode Two, Team Fortress 2 and Portal - will be shown in real-time at the Leipzig Games Convention.

"We'll have a real-time demo of the games behind closed doors," Valve marketing director Doug Lombardi told Eurogamer last night.

"It will not be playable, but will be new, never-before-seen items."

Read more

Episode 2/TF2/Portal at Leipzig

Valve heading to GC 2006.

Valve Software is planning to show off Half-Life 2: Episode Two along with bonus add-ons Team Fortress 2 and Portal at the Leipzig Games Convention.

Half-Life 2: Episode Two video

Lovely woody sort of trailer.

Valve's released a trailer showing off some of the stuff you'll be doing in Half-Life 2: Episode Two, due out later this year on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

Valve reveals new Ep 2 details

Valve reveals new Ep 2 details

360, PS3 and PC - and it'll ship with Team Fortress 2.

In a really rather exciting presentation at EA's Studio Showcase in San Francisco, Valve has announced that Half-Life 2: Episode 2 will launch on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC simultaneously - and that's only the start of it.

Studio founder Gabe Newell was on hand to deliver the news, and to inform the audience that the console version will come complete with the original HL2 and Ep 1 for "the entire Half-Life experience."

Newell also revealed that Ep 2 will ship with a brand new FPS game called Portal. Set in the Half-Life universe, it sees you armed with some kind of crazy gun which allows you to create, well, portals. You can use them to transport yourself across rooms, or to teleport an object from one place to another - perhaps so that it falls out of the portal you've created to land smack bang on an enemy's head, for example.

Read more

HL2: Episode 2 details revealed

HL2: Episode 2 details revealed

Spoiler alert! Spoiler alert!

New details have been revealed of Half-Life 2: Episode 2 - and if you don't want to spoil any surprises, you'd best stop reading right now.

According to the latest issue of PC Gamer US, as detailed on the Steam forums, Alyx is still alive and well in Ep 2. She's joining Dr. Freeman on his mission to deliver the combine packet to Eli and Kleiner, who have set up a base in the missile silo.

You can expect as many different environments as those found in Ep 1, including a mine shaft, and an upgrade for the Gravity Gun. There's also a brand new weapon called the Strider Buster, plus a ramming vehicle which can be used to blast through waves of Mini Striders. We'll get to learn more about the mysterious Vortigaunts, and even the G Man himself.

Read more

Opening the Valve

Part 2: On Warren Spector, Alyx, and the importance of playtesting.

Despite the massive acclaim and the shower of awards thrust upon Valve in the wake of Half-Life 2's release in November 2004, the developer listened more than ever to the feedback from the community, meticulously cataloguing thousands of hours of playtesting feedback from hundreds of playtesters and setting about to continue the Half-Life 2 story episodically, but while also fixing many of the niggling issues that fans had with the game.

Opening the Valve

Gabe Newell and co. on Hollywood, Episode One and future expansions.

After spectacularly 'raising the bar' (with a gravity gun) of the FPS genre in 2004, Valve last week turned its attention to extending the Half-Life 2 universe episodically with the release of the first in a trilogy of episodes that finally reveals what happened to Gordon and Alyx after the destruction of the Citadel.