Just 7 days after the release of Half-Life 2: Episode One, Valve announces the Half-Life Episodic Trilogy and says the trilogy will conclude by Christmas 2007.
“After spending six years creating Half-Life 2, we decided to build HL2’s successor as a trilogy of episodes,” said Gabe Newell, President and co-founder of Valve.
Source: Valve Press Release
When asked if the increasing development time of Episode Three is being caused by the scope of the project or the result of other projects at Valve, Doug Lombardi claims both. He says “… we want the next installment of Half-Life 2 to be really big.” “So I mean, we’re taking more time because it’s a more ambitious project. We also sort of had Left 4 Dead become this big thing in the middle of it that we wanted to spend more time on, and you’ve just got a lot of stuff that we spent this year doing with Team Fortress 2 updates and what have you. So there’s just a lot going on, and then an ambitious project on top of it caused the schedule to move out a little bit from the delta of the last three releases in the franchise.” This information is extremely interesting in hindsight.
This one borders on the edge of conspiracy-theory but it has been verified and therefore worth mentioning. During the 2015 Steam Holiday Sale alternate reality game (ARG), one of many reddit users going through ARG files finds what appears to be a Half-Life logo and a crowbar. Marc Laidlaw says he was not aware of the ARG and this is not intended as way to announce a new game.
Marc Laidlaw, main writer of the Half-Life series leaves Valve after 18 years. Originally revealed by reddit user TeddyWolf and later confirmed by Eurogamer, this news came as a huge shock to the Half-Life community. In his own words: “I had a good run but lately I have been feeling a need for a break from the collaborative chaos of game production, and a return to more self-directed writing projects.” One can only speculate his motives for retirement.