GOONL!NE Advent Calendar for 2010: #1 – Half Life 2: Episode Three

By Jonathan Cullen.

For the past two years, I have put together a top 20 list of games for their respective years. In previous years, LittleBigPlanet and Final Fantasy XIII have come out as the winners of them lists. This year, we have a much stronger staff presence in both freelance and full-time staff.

So, instead of arguing and bickering over a top 20 list, we decided to bring you a series of articles you’ll be seeing from us every day until just before Christmas. You may even see one game already picked by one of the other staff members here on GO. It may even show you how fucking pumped we are for the said game.

For now though, we start off with No. 1 on this advent calendar, which hasn’t actually been confirmed for 2010. But dear jesus, it needs to be out next year by any rate – Half Life 2: Episode Three.

Since Episode Two released two years ago with The Orange Box on the PS3 and 360, we haven’t heard a peep from what Valve are doing with Episode Three. All we have seen in recent years from the developer is Left 4 Dead in 2008, and it’s sequel this year: the one we gave a 9/10 a while back.

Since 2007, all Valve has said on Episode Three is that it is still in development, and thats pretty much it. Nothing on when it is coming, which platforms, what the story is going to be about in Ep Three. The strongest hint of where Episode Three is going to be set comes near the end of Episode Two, where it looks like the carrier ship the Borealis will be the location of the final chapter of the Half Life 2 saga. The episode certainly ended on a cliffhanger when (highlight below to see):

*Eli was murdered by a Combine Advisor at the end, with Gordon and Alyx saved by Dog from the second of the two Advisors.*

So when can we expect to see this? Chances are we’ll get a trailer at E3, playable at GamesCom and out by the Fall of 2010, fiscal Q3/Q4 is my guess, in around between late September – early December at the latest. What conference would it be shown if it was at E3? Simple, dummy: the EA conference, as EA distributes all of Valve’s games at retail.

How will we get our hands on it? Good question, Radiohead. We reckon three options are available to Valve at this point:

1 – DLC: The easiest of the lot. If you have The Orange Box, it would be easily downloadable from either Xbox Live Marketplace or the PlayStation Network, if Valve feel they want to develop Episode Three from the ground-up for the PS3 version of The Orange Box, or even if EA want to handle development for the PS3 ep. Then again, we highly advise against it after The Orange Box port for the PS3 against the 360. If it’d be like the PS3 port of The Orange Box, don’t bother attempting it.

2 – Separate Retail Release: We highly doubt Valve would go down this route, as they would probably prefer the Half Life 2 saga being played together, not separately. That said, a possibility is a possibility until it is ruled out. A retail release for the episode would be slightly more expensive than a digital buy from Steam, but it would probably cost roughly upwards of £25 – £30 for the PC, PS3 and 360, although there could be a console exclusivity at play most likely for the 360 version of Ep Three, so keep your eyes and ears out for that at E3.

3 – The Orange Box 2: Let’s be honest. The Orange Box 2 would be completely borderline awesome if it happened. Like the first Orange Box, it would contain all of the Half Life 2 saga thus farm as well as Episode Three, plus potentially Portal 2 and the original. And in place of  Team Fortress 2, you would get a new Counter Strike. However, because most people would are going to get Ep 3 would already have The Orange Box 1 already, we highly doubt there would be a sequel for it unless people properly asked for it. For now, if you didn’t get your hands on the first Orange Box, pray that you either get your hands on the first one second-hand, or get a second Orange Box.

Valve, it has been too long since we had a fresh slice of Half Life 2 cake. When this whole episodic saga started, we were promised an episode at least every six months. Meaning that, with the release of Episode One in June 2006, we should have had Episode Three in June 2007. Now though, if you do release Episode Three next Summer, it’d be three years since we got to play a new part of the Half Life 2 story saga. At this rate, you could even have been halfway through development of Half Life 3 by now if you had it in development. So please, for the love of God, release Episode Three next year.

One Response to “GOONL!NE Advent Calendar for 2010: #1 – Half Life 2: Episode Three”

  1. I fully agree. In December of 08, Vavle said they would give informaiton at the begining of the year and never did. I feel like I’ve been the only one waiting and all the Half Life fans have abandoned the game. Its not like they can be blamed. Valve has said and done so much about the Left for Dead series and nothing about Half Life. I hope Valve knows there’s at least 2 fans out there still wanting Episode 3, or even Half Life 3.