Poll Question 014 – Is the Concept of Episodic Gaming is Flawed?

19th January 2007

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half Life 1, 2 and 3

For this Poll Question I have used the style of a courtroom. Just like other poll questions you should read the whole post before voting. Today I will be taking the position of Prosecutor.

Opening Statement

Valve stands before you accused of forsaking Half-Life 3 as a full-length game in favour of episodes. This court will hear arguments from the prosecution. You, the reader, are the jury. Please use the poll option in the sidebar to register your verdict. Let the process begin.

Prosecution’s Opening Statement

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, today I am going to clearly demonstrate why this serious charge against the defendant is not only true but also bad for the games industry and also bad for gamers.

I will start by getting straight to the point.

The concept of Episodic Gaming is flawed!

Let us quickly look at the supposed benefits:

  • Faster Release times
  • Ability to respond to players’ criticisms
  • Lower Price for the consumer
  • Lower start-up costs for the developer

I’ll counter those points one-by-one.

Faster Release Times
I think this is a red-herring because development time has been increasing ever since games were released. I’ve yet to see an episodic game released faster than expected! Are faster release times better? Doesn’t a person gain more from waiting a little longer? Perhaps this world is too interested in a quick buck and instant pleasure.

Ability to respond to players’ criticisms
That’s not a benefit of Episodic gaming, that is one of the main benefits of systems like Steam. A developer can simply update the game quickly and easily. In the past a patch would have had to have been released. Now it is just an update. In reality there is nothing stopping a developer listening to feedback and making changes via patches. Is the time and effort taken to create a patch any different from an update? I fail to see how.

This does raise the point that shouldn’t the player be allowed to choose what changes are made? Maybe they like the game as it is (Assuming they have already played the part in question). These updates are removing players’ choice and should be made optional.

Lower Price for the consumer
I paid $20 for Half-Life 2 Episode 1, now that was approximately four hours long, how long was Half-Life? 12 hours, maybe more. If episodes 1, 2 and 3 are supposed to equal a normal full game then that works out at $60 a game! Console games cost that much but not many, if any, PC games. I feel that I am going to be paying more for my episodic gaming. How is that a benefit to gamers?

Lower start-up costs for the developer
This point may be valid in theory. Having to release a much smaller game will certainly reduce costs. But let’s us look at the game market. Since the announcement and promotion of Episodic gaming, how many games have been released in episode form? One! SiN Emergence, which now seems to have been two episodes in one: The first and the last!

Until I see a number of successful games released in this way I will continue to believe that the whole thing is a modern version of The Emperor’s New Clothes!

Story Telling and Game Mechanics
Having dispelled a number of misconceptions allow me to move onto points that are of a less factual stance but more emotive.

I play SP games mainly because of the story element. I want something to become involved in and experience different emotions. When you split stories into small segments that immersion can be lost. For me the best stories are either very short stories that allow me to continue them in my imagination or huge operas that go into details. Dune and Foundation and Earth are two perfect examples from the book world.

By creating Episodes we are fragmenting (pun intended!) that story telling and immersion. The comparison has been made by FitzroyDoll of Amphibian Mods that episodic gaming is the equivalent of a magazine article. I believe it is a very good comparison, although the direct relationship with a TV episode is perhaps more relevant. A main story line with sub-plots running through the series, each episode ending in some Cliff-Hanger. But let us not forget that these episodes are weekly and that fits into most people’s routine. Also a week is not too long to have to wait for the next episode. With regards the episodes in Half-Life 2 we are waiting over a year!

Prosecution’s Closing Statement
I have clearly demonstrated that Valve is perpetuating a falsehood. Episodic gaming brings little or no benefit to the gamer and a clear statement should be made to them to cease this crime.

I therefore urge you to find the defendant GUILTY. Thank you.


  1. What a coincidence! I hadn’t forgotten and was writing the defense as we speak and just stopped by to collect some damning exhibits from your site. Hold this space!

    (And I’ll be filing a complaint with the court and the bar the fact that you didn’t properly inform counsel for the defence of the hearing date! 😉

  2. To support the Prosecuter’s.. prosecution about development times, observe this research. Half-Life 2 was in development for five years (according to http://www.gamespot.com/features/6112889/p-3.html). Released at November 16th, 2004. Episode One was released on June 1st of 2006. If episodes follow this usual development time, thats 2 years per episode which means the episodic trilogy will have 6 years of development time Half-Life 2 it’self took, as said, 5 years of development. This means that the development time will actually be *slower*.

    However, this is unfair since the development time will possibly be faster due to the team’s experiance in developing Half-Life 2 and their knowledge of the Source Engine already. This however, doesn’t matter since a Half-Life 3 on the same again would be the same, regardless of whether it was episodic or not.

    As for the cost. Let’s do math.

    Current price of Half-Life 2 (according to http://www.halflife2.net/hl2/purchase) is 30 dollars american (not including the special offers). Episode One currently is 15 dollars american. Thus, buying them all one by one as they come out would cost you theoretically 45 dollars american.

    At the same time, there is the possibility of getting money off if you purchase all the episodes in a three pack (much like the other special offers). This would theoretically cost less then Half-Life 2, assuming it’s price doesn’t go down.

    I will defend the.. defense on the response to criticisms. What about, say, if there was a large amount of players saying that they’d like Barney to practice Krav Maga on a squad of Zombies wearing Superman t-shirts. Not something you can easily put into a patch. So, Episode Two might feature Barney putting the physical smackdown on various alien species as a response to those criticisms.

  3. Passerby

    The prosecution should check his mailbox. And someone should fix the bug with the forum login not working on the main site and vice versa leading to all these anonymous comments. The above is probably Fluffy – not me.

    Passerby (acting counsel for the defence)

  4. Defense

    Honourable members of the court, ladies and gentlemen of the jury,

    The counsel for the prosecution has attempted to paint you a picture in which innocent, hardworking gamers are being cheated out of their rightful entertainment by a bunch of lazy, greedy, corporate development houses. What a heart-stirring tale of underdog oppression and woe!

    However, do not be misled by this tear-jerking attempt to gain your undeserved sympathy. I put it to you that the very opposite is the case: game developers are working harder than ever before to deliver a quality experience that is entertaining, immersive and fresh. What you have heard, ladies and gentlemen, are the whining complaints of a spoilt consumer with unfair expectations.

    Before going into this in greater depth however, I will first refute the prosecution’s arguments one by one.

    1. Faster release times are a red herring.

    The prosecution appears to be confused. Initially, the prosecution appears to complain that game development time has been increasing over the years, yet he then goes on too admonish the industry for wanting to make a quick buck.

    It must be either the one or the other: either one believes game development takes too long (in which case one should welcome episodic content), or one should be prepared to wait. The fact that episodic content can deliver games faster, cannot of itself be held against it, surely? That would be like accusing a paperback novel of having a soft spine.

    How long does it take to make a game anyway? The truth is, as any honest developer will tell you, “as long as it takes”. The great releases we all know and loved were delayed many times for this reason, and that’s probably why they were so great. Whether or not the game is episodic is beside the point.

    2. Ability to respond to players” criticism is either already present in legacy systems or is undesirable in any case

    Again, it is unclear what the prosecution wants. On the one hand prosecution appears to see the ability to update and patch games as a benefit and a pretty straight-forward practice; on the other hand it questions whether such patches might be a good idea. This is again, utterly beside the point with respect as to whether or not gaming is episodic.

    It also appears that this confusion on behalf of the prosecution has caused him to overlook the fact that the prime strength of episodic gaming’s ability to respond to gamers” criticisms, lies in the aspects of character and storyline. Patches are generally used for technical or gameplay updates (making the player a little stronger or weaker, modifying weapons, baddies), but Episodic gaming means that developers can pay more attention to a particular character’s role in the story if it becomes clear that gamers particularly like that character. The classic exhibit here is Alyx in Episode 1, and of course Dog too.

    3. The price for the consumer is disproportionately high

    This is where the prosecution shows itself at its worst, and the outlines of the spoilt child become most apparent. Let us first compare a few prices:

    Average price of a cinema ticket US$15 (90 minutes movie)
    Average price of a dinner for two in inexpensive restaurant US$50 (two courses)
    Average price of a CD of popular music US$12 (75 minutes of music)
    Average price of a seat at the opera US$175 (3 hour opera including interval)

    And the prosecution wishes to tell you that US$20 for four hours of intense, immersive, story-driven, kick-ass entertainment is a bad deal?!

    Making a good game requires a big team of highly-educated, talented people to work many, many hours. Again we see the spoilt child raise its ugly head from behind the prosecution’s argument.

    Furthermore, it may well be the case that Half-Life was 12 hours long, maybe Doom II was even 20. This however is utterly beside the point. In the old days, when graphics were poor and AI quality was low, developers compensated by providing quantity instead. Unfortunately, as a result, large sections of these games were mainly filler and often painstakingly boring.

    The counsel for the prosecution himself has on several occasions publicly complained of this fact:

    [Exhibit 2:

    [Exhibit 3:

    But the most telling way to illustrate this point is by the simple words:

    “On a Rail”

    Those members of the jury who are true-born gamers will need to hear no more.

    4. Lower start-up costs for the developer have not yet made themselves apparent in a sudden increase in new games

    The prosecution should be more patient. Rome was not built in a day. The argument is utterly beside the point as to whether or not episodic gaming is a good thing.

    Episodic gaming means stronger story telling

    Honourable members of the court, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I shall now turn to the prosecution’s remarks on storytelling and game mechanics, where again we shall see confusion and a misplaced sense of entitlement on behalf of the prosecution.

    Let us first consider the question of “the story” in some popular FPS. If one was in an uncharitable mood, one might summarise the plot of a few popular FPS as follows:

    Doom: A portal from hell has opened and you have to shoot all the demons
    Half-life 1: A portal from hell has opened and you have to shoot all the demons and the soldiers who have come to shoot the demons too.
    Half-life 2: The portal from hell is still open and there are still plenty of demons and soldiers to shoot.

    The above, of course, would only be true if technology and creativity hadn’t developed to allow better and different means of in-game storytelling. It is only understandable that as the intensity and quality of the storytelling increases, that the overall length of the experience is somewhat reduced. Again, it is a matter of getting rid of boring filler and offering the gamer and experience that is unique and fresh in every moment. Nobody would seriously summarize Episode 1 with its intensive plot and the characters as “Yup, it’s still open, still more demons”, would they?

    Again, the prosecution is unreasonable in its demands. Of course we would all like an epic episodic frag-opera that released itself continuously in 2 hour episodes every evening, but for the time being, we’re going to have to wait. Diddums.

    Closing Statement for the Defence

    The constraints and focus of episodic gaming have given us more detailed storytelling and strong, well-developed characters like Alyx and Dog. The price is more than reasonable when compared to other forms of entertainment. Everyone wishes that games would be released faster, but unfortunately games take time and money to make. The prosecution is acting like a big baby and the defendant is most surely innocent of all charges. I rest my case.

    1. I have to agree with most of this..Ep1 being only four hours? That is a ripoff. I’ll still wind up buying them. But only because of the mods available for them..

  5. Zockopa

    Me thinks that creating an episode now with
    far less than 10 hours playtime takes more time
    to produce than a full missiondisc with more
    than double the playtime a couple years ago.
    Why ? I cant imagine another reason than making
    more bucks per hour playtime. Guilty

  6. You say patches can be used to better the game? How can it? You can’t put major gameplay changes into a patch or update. Take this example:

    In Episode One, you were originally going to have the Gravity Gun for a longer period of time. This is explained in the Commentary track. Testers said they wanted to have weapons instead of running around with the Gravity Gun. They couldn’t suddenly have you pick up the Pistol and Shotgun after an update. Like one poster said, patches/updates are only used to correct technical errors. Some major gameplay features may require entire maps to be rebuilt, which would result in a jarring effect for those who have played through that map previously.

    Another example is the very beginning: Again, the Commentary tells you that the intro was more focused on special effects than storytelling. Testers said they thought it was cool, but didn’t really have any idea what was supposed to be happening. VALVe then tweaked it so they could have a middle ground between storytelling and the psychedelic look they were shooting for. If they released the intro they first had, then changed it to the one they have now, when playing through it again, I’d be wondering it was the same game I was playing as last time.

    About the cost: You’re making it sound like you have to shell out the total cost of all the games at once. No, it’s a small amount every so often. I’m sure that in the time it takes for the release of each Episode, you can scrounge up a few bucks for the game…?

    Also, Zockopa, how can they make money off of something they haven’t released, yet? Your wording is pretty confusing and it makes it sound like you’re accusing VALVe of somehow managing to get money off you by simply developing the game. I’m pretty sure that they’re spending more money than they are making while producing games.

  7. I have some serious issues with comments here and I will post this weekend once I get it in order.
    a couple are:
    Is Valve irresponsible? yes
    Is valve controlling your game: yes
    Can valve be held accountable? debatable
    Can you play your game when you want: NO
    Are Episodes the way to go? NO
    Are episodes frequent? NO
    Other beef’s for or against? YES

  8. Defense: “On a Rail”

    Picking out On a Rail is helping your case how? It wasn’t the slightest bit filler: lots of big (multi-way) shootouts, several exploration opportunities, and cool set pieces like the rocket launch. It also helped that it was around shorter, more linear chapters and therefore varied the pace a little.

    Anyway, I choose “not guilty” simply because episodic content is too new for any sort of judgement yet (of course the first uses of it are not going to show its advantages much; a lot of new ideas take a while to refine), so I’d rather just give it a chance.

  9. In rejoinder the counsel for the defence withdraws its exhibit “On A Rail”, having been convinced by MMAN’s stirring evocation of its merrits.

    The defence does however, wish to file a new exhibit in its place, which even better demonstrates the use of filler in old-fashioned, non-episodic games:

    “Jumping Puzzles”


  10. I can’t disagree there 😉 .

  11. MrHappy

    Original paid price for Half-life 2: $60 USD

    Original combined prices of Episodes 1 through 3: $60 USD

    Claiming that it’s a ripoff: Priceless

    You have to realize they’re working on Episodes 1 and 2 at the same time as well as preliminary Half-Life 3 stuff. Hell, for all we know the HL3 story rough is finalized and production is in full swing.

    The point of the Episodes is to give people something substantial to chew on while they wait, rather than just some interviews that say basically “Yeah, we’re working on it and it’s going to be great.”

    The episdodes: 1. Further the story 2. Take less time to produce 3. Provide a playground for new technology 4. Extend the development cycle for Half-Life 3 allowing for a longer, better game then you can possibly imagine.

    Another way you can look at it is as “webisodes” like Battlestar Gallactica and Jericho. Half-Life 1, 2, and 3 are the seasons and the Episodes (which are going to be between 3 & 4 and 4 & 5 as well) are webisodes to hold interest and give more to the player in terms of story, plot, and detail that only the most hardcore fan will see and understand.

    Oh, and maybe Episodic content hasn’t caught on enough for people to put money into it yet, but just look at MINERVA and CR.

    Besides, SiN failed because everyone on the team quit.

  12. 4&8 ? Where did that number come from?Last I heard episode 3 will be the final HL.Unless they change thier minds and make a 3 or 4 full game but last I heard episode 3 is the end.

  13. MrHappy

    you gotts read between the lines, here’s a half-remembered quote from Gabe Newell from a really random source that I don’t remember:

    Q: Is Episode 3 the end of the Half-life saga?
    A: Haha we have big plans.

    And then there’s Lombardi:

    “The episodes are like HL 3 man, and like, its like the culmination of the story arc brother but that doesnt mean its the end of HL dude, or does it? [evil laugh]”

    I just hope I’m not wrong, don’t want to get eBeaten

    a. the episodes constiutute an entire game, therefore they are like “half-life 3′, but obviously not called Half-LIfe 3.

    b. there will be more games after the episodes

    c. the episodes are not the end of hl, theyre not that stupid

    d. the naming convention HL2:EP1 etc. and the end of the episodes means that the next game after EP3 will either be Half-Life 3 or something stupid and Alien series like, like Half-Lifes or Half-Life: resurection

    e. VALVe is trying to make episodic content popular. if they find they have success with it then they are 99% likely to continue the format through the next series of games, i.e. HL3:EP1 and so on.
    f. I work at VALVe

    errr, I mean I wish I worked at valve

    Here’s an interesting interview, Johnson Walker and Lombardi even get a couple of words in edgewise!


    One cool thing in here is the possibility of an HL movie. They’ve looked at outside scripts, tried hiring a writer, and it was all uninspired crap. Basically they said they’d do it if there was a really good script and director and if they got paid enough. It also goes to the naming conventions, they were thinking about calling the episodes HL3:EP# but didnt. For no reason. Whatever.

    Here’s something that get’s down to my point:


    Turns out Gabe likes Battlestar, yay!
    Anyway here’s a quote:

    The big guy: I assume at some point we’re going to say, and our fans are going to say, “That was really great for awhile, but now we want the big one.” I think that we’re having the option now of having the same choices of — tv show, tv show, tv show, movie. How do you make that decision? Fans like them both. But, some things you want to do with a movie-like piece, and some things work better as individual episodes.

    Anyway, as far as I can see, all roads lead to HL3!


  14. you gotts read between the lines

    separating the point about whether Half-Life 3 is the last of the series, I thought Valve made it clear that Half-Life 3 was replaced by episodes 1,2 and 3.

  15. Darth Marsden

    Episodic gaming can work, you just have to know what type of games you make with it.

    Take the new Sam & Max games. I love ’em, and so do many other people. They work wonderfully, and for all the reasons you gave.
    They’ve been released one a month so far, they’ve tweaked certain aspects in the second epiosde based on people’s comments about the first, they cost a lot less then a full game and they’re cheaper to make.

    But that said, it works because Sam & Max is an adventure game. If it were any other type of game, I really do doubt it would work. I’m merly pointing out that Episodic gaming as a concept is not flawed. Merely that it’s been badly implemented by most people who use it. Valve being one of them. I vote Guilty.

    Also – whatever happened to SiN Episodes? I enjoyed that!

  16. Darth Marsden

    Forgot the question about SiN – reading the above comments, I can see it’s already been answered.

  17. [quote post=”3061″]you gotts read between the lines

    separating the point about whether Half-Life 3 is the last of the series, I thought Valve made it clear that Half-Life 3 was replaced by episodes 1,2 and 3.[/quote]

    Yeah, see what they’re saying is that Episodes 1 2 and 3 constitute a full game, which is Half-Life 3. They are called HL2:EP# because Episode 3 will be the end of the HL2 episode arc. However, they also say that the episodes will lay the foundation for larger story arcs, just as HL1 layed the foundation for HL2, even though it is essentially a seperate story arc.

    So we know that the story continues which means there will be another game after Episode 3. Now, the way I see it it cannot be called HL2:EP4 because they sayed there will be only 3 episodes and because it will start a new story arc that is essentially different from HL2.

    Now, another reason why they say that the episodes constitute HL3 is marketing. You are more likely to buy all three episodes if you think they constitute a whole game which add up in price and that is the sequel to HL2, rather than being expansion packs for HL2 as the Gearbox games were. (I know tis hard to believe but there are people that have played HL1, and 2 but not BS or OpFor!!)

    Newell’s quote about BSG and the episode episode episode movie episode episode move etc. format also tell us they are planning a stand-alone “full” game to come after the Episodes.

    Now, HL2:EP1-3 may constitute “a Half-Life 3 game” but do you really think they are going to call whatever “full” game that comes after the episodes Half-Life 4 ?

    I don’t. One, it makes no sense as there is no game officially called Half-Life 3. Two, it may confuse people new to the series.

    They will most likely call it “Half-Life 3” as it is continuous with their extablished numbering scheme.

    They may also call it something like “Half-Lifes” or “Half-Life: Resurrection” in a way akin to the Alien sereis to stay consistent with their statement that the episodes ARE HL3, but I think that is unlikely seeing as how they have established a numbering scheme.

    Also, VALVe likes Episodic content. So it may be HL3:EP1-3 that constitute “a Half-Life 4 game” however this is part is a complete guess, and personally I would prefer to see HL3, then HL3:EP1-3. But this parts my hopes.

    Anyway, I think we all realize (I know you do Phillip) that they are not going to kill a series that started with two games that both won multiple “Best game ever made” awards. They love money AND their fans.

  18. I voted guilty, and I’ll tell you why:

    1) 6 years to make a sequel? That’s buggy?

    2) 2 years to release “episodes” that are buggy and outstrip the hardware 90% of the gamers out there use (because not everyone is rich enough to change hardware every 6 months).

    3) Steam, which is not only buggy but prevents the user from playing the game in offline mode more often than not.

    4) Cost. Every post I’ve seen so far has the number way off. For one, average movie prices in the US outside of El Lay or NYC are around $7-$10 per person, half that during the day. HL2, when released, was nearly $60 in WAL-MART; the price has since fallen, but the super-duper-combo package is still nearly $60. Retail cost of EP1 is $15, but to get it online (which is problematic for those of us without highspeed connections) is still $20. And if the pricing of the next episodes fall in line with EP1, we’re looking at a minimum of $30 and a potential maximum (including inflation) of $50-$60 for the next two. And the kicker is that the “episodic” content isn’t really worth more than $10 per episode. And I have to agree with Philip, three short episodes separated by 2 or 3 years really ruin the experience. Once you get them and can run thru them all in one shot, it’s nice; but waiting that long is like waiting 2 years for the next Battlestar Galactica episode, you forget way too much, and if Valve is true to form, they’ve made the new stuff for hardware that didn’t exist when you got the game, and there we go with the po” folk gettin” screwed again.

    5) Restrictive/impossible DRM: part of Steam, but still valid, because it kills a major portion of gamers, those that don’t have highspeed internet access. If the game works well, it doens’t need constant “updates” and “patches”–we should be allowed to turn them off if we wish; we should also be allowed to run the game in SP mode without any form of internet connection at all. DOOM3 did it, why can’t Valve/HLx??

    Conclusion: Valve is making very questionable decisions in how they made, marketed, and maintain the game. It’s just one step away from “subscription-based computing”, where they charge you per play or per hour or per minute. They aready break Steam and the games when they update them; they already make playing in SP offline mode nearly impossible; and they are overcharging for content that is, at best, no better than a decent mod (and, if compared to Leon’s CtA mod, pretty damned lacking).

    So, I say to you, the jury: Find them GUILTY. And off with their heads!!

  19. MrHappy

    Ok, as fun and pretty as CtoA is it has no story, no variety, and is basically not….nevermind. I like it so I dont want to say bad things.

    The only mod that comes close to what your talking about is MINERVA.

    As for the price thing, ep2 will be available standalone for 20$ on steam probably. But, guess what the black box is…40$ (USD) uproar? outrage? NO!!! GREAT DEAL!!! because you also get Portal which is a full fledged game, as well as TF2 which is the sequel to the best online multiplayer game ever made.

    The Orange box is 60$ GOOD DEAL. its hot HL2 (originally 60$) EP1 (originally 20$) plus the black box contents!!!! GREAT DEAL.

    And why would you buy a game on steam? convenience. but, it takes forever to download so go to the friken store, better price, quicker install time. the extra 5$ (OMG) is for the convenience of installing a game while you do something else and dont have to go anywhere to buy it. PLUS if you ruin your disc, YOU DONT HAVE TO BUY A NEW COPY id say the whole five dollars is worth it.

    True DRM is essentially illegal, however there are legal loopholes the media industry has created to allow it so, their well within their right. I dont agree with it but its their right.

    STEAM, buggy? whatever. its an essentially new concept (yeah, I know, its a few years old) but EVERY OTHER TECHNOLOGY generally has a decade or more until its almost perfect. STEAM doesnt bug up nearly as much as people whine about it bugging up so whatever.

    6 years to developer the game? in a way untrue. it took six years to write an entirely new engine from scratch + develop totally new facial animation technologies from scratch + all pre-production designs (concept art, story, etc.) + build a game. you obviously have no idea how much effort it takes to do these things. besides, you were only AWARE of its development for a year and a half so whatever AND they completely redesigned the story and game at least once, plus they had to sustain the pile of crap called counter strike.

    EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF SOFTWARE, GAME OR NOT, HAS BUGS. HL2 and EP1 are NOT as buggy as people make them out to be. reason dictates they should be MORE buggy because games are extremely complicated pieces of software as WELL AS art.

    have you ever looked at the results of the VALVe hardware survey? guess not because youd know that your second statement is simply WRONG

    did you know that VALVe poured almost all of their HL1 profit (if not all, + GABE’s own money which he was willing to do but they havent said if it happened) into developing steam, hl2, crappy-strike, tf2, dod, and everything else all at once! and people say their money hungry…….

    VALVe has done nothing wrong.

  20. Darth Marsden

    What if your gaming PC is not connected to the internets? I’m a wee bit screwed, aren’t I?

    (Before anyone asks – I have an external hard drive full of mods and other assorted crap)

  21. man that sucks, I dont know I’ve never been in that position but I can usually get on my games when internet is temporarily down. afaik just gotta have connected once, and all you need to do that is an aol disc that you can subsequently burn with delight.

    maybe the bugs arent exaggerated, ive just never had a problem that wasnt really easily fixed (except once)

  22. I can understand the reasoning why people are against Episodic releases, but I do have to respond with one very basic argument defending episodic gaming: If it hadn’t been for Orange Box, and the episodes, and being able to gift HL2 & Ep1 to friends, I would not have gotten into the Half Life series. I might not even have gotten Portal.

    I like to do analogies, and in this case, my analogy is Half Life is like a Train. Episodic development is like putting more stops for people to get on at. Of course it’s not as convenient for the people already on the train, but it’s a minor inconvenience, and for the people who haven’t gotten on yet it’s a HUGE benefit.

    Ultimately, as long as Valve releases GOOD games with GOOD stories, I’ll play them. I don’t care whether they’re episodic or not.

  23. Chris

    I think the Episodic system works pretty good, it allows for a quicker game to fill a gap in the story or to expand the story at a lower price.
    Also just a note,
    Calling them “Half Life 2: Episode X” is incorrect, Valve states that they should really be refereed to by “Half Life 3: Episode X”

    1. I believe said that they “wished” they had called them “Half Life 3: Episode X”.

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