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In 1998, following the release of the critically-acclaimed Half-Life, Valve Software assigned themselves with the difficult task of creating a sequel that would not only live up to fans’ expectations, but surpass them in every way. Half-Life 2 would feature an exciting new engine capable of rendering the game-world in stunning photo-realism, an engaging story, as well as a diverse set of characters and enemies. It was one of the most ambitious projects in gaming history, sadly, it would also prove to be one of the most troubled ones. With the game having suffered a number of delays and at one point even being leaked to the public in its entirety, to say that Half-Life 2’s development was a stressful challenge for its creators to overcome would be putting it mildly.
Even though Valve’s hard work proved to be worth the wait when Half-Life 2 was met with acclaim from fans and critics alike on release, the troubled history behind the game would foreshadow the uncertain future of the series as a whole.
While fans kept themselves busy by modding the game to no end, the company decided to work on additional episodes for the game. Episode 1 and 2 were developed simultaneously, this aided the developers in streamlining the story between the two games and allowed them to create an immersive and seamless experience for the player. Episode 1 was praised on release in 2006, much like Episode 2 in 2007, which ended on an ambiguous cliffhanger.
According to interviews, the third episode of Half-Life 2 was to be released sometime after The Orange Box’s release, and would consequently wrap up all of the loose ends. Yet, mysteriously, nothing came of the sort.
Surprisingly, the add-ons didn’t stop at number 3. On the contrary; other companies were in fact commissioned to work on additional episodes, yet, none of them saw the light of day. Thankfully, fans of the beloved series have devoted themselves to unearth as much information as possible regarding these enigmatic expansion packs.
So, what happened during development? How did these lost episodes fit into the story of the Half-Life universe? And, most importantly, why were they cancelled?
Narrated by Steve Petitt
Written by Jake ‘The Voice’ Parr
Directed by Ailert Riemersma
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