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“Valve and Kindergarten Math: or Why Valve Can’t Count to 3”
You already know what I’m going to mention. It’s burned its name right in your frontal lobe, like the last bit of bacon shriveled and blackened in the corner of the stove, cherished yet abandoned. You’ve stopped thinking about it, stopped talking about it but still it lingers like stale breath over any conversation involving Valve, the heartbreaking halitosis that is Half-Life 3 (a.k.a Half-Life 2: Episode 3 or whatever the hell it’s called, yell at me in the comments)
Let’s start with a history lesson: In 1996, Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington formed a video game corporation named Valve, and since then the company has been making critically acclaimed games like Portal, Half-Life, and Left 4 Dead. And then they made sequels. And then they just…stopped.
Or did they? Let’s look at Portal; a delightfully evil little romp through the labs of Aperture Science. The game was released in 2007, with the sequel finished in 2011. It took 4 years for Valve to finish the sequel, so can we expect a Portal 3 by 2015?
I’m moving on to the hemorrhoid on this great big ass of anticipation: Half Life 2: Episode 2 The Phantom Menace. Here’s a quote from the man himself:
“So, if somebody becomes the group manager of X, they’re going to really resist it when X is not what you want to do in the next round of games. You don’t want them to sort of burrow into that – you want them to recognize that being really good at Half-Life level design is not as nearly as valued as thinking of how to design social multi-player experiences. You’ve had them feel like they have an organization and title tied up to something when the key is to just continue to follow where the customers are leading.”
For everybody who doesn’t speak cop-out, basically it comes down to the market. Is Half-Life 3: Look Who’s Talking 2 even a profitable option for Valve at this point?
Maybe it’s for the best. These are great franchises and the last thing anyone wants is for them to get stale. A sequel is supposed to improve upon the original; but with the hype behind these games reaching meme status, is it possible for publishers to not only satisfy but impress today’s gamers? On the other hand, peep your eyes on this:
As you can see by my highly prodigious chart, the longer shit takes to get done, the less we all care in the end. Do we really want Half-Life 2: Episode 2 Part 3 Electric Boogaloo to become the new Duke Nukem? Or ~shudder~ Aliens: Colonial Marines? Maybe by now we’re better off just giving up hope that there will ever be sequel for any of these games. What do you think? Is there still a market for these games, or is disappointment on the horizon?