previewed on PC
Expanding Half Life 2
Rise and shine Mr. Freeman, Rise and Shine. Wake up and smell the ashes.
Those were the first words spoken to you in the opening of Half Life 2 by the mysterious G-Man, and it still sends a twitch of FPS delight down your arm at the thought of what Half Life 2 had in store for the great Dr. Gordon Freeman. That was long ago however, and many of us have long since wondered about what fate had befallen our crowbar wielding hero and his attractive companion in arms, Alyx. Well, dust off the crowbar and make sure the hazard suit is charged, because Gordon Freeman and the cast of Half Life 2 will make their return in half Life 2: Episode 1.
On June 1st, Valve will be releasing the first, stand alone expansion to the award winning Half Life 2 series. Once again donning the famous hazard suit of Dr. Gordon Freeman, the player will start ?Episode 1? with the good doctor and the lovely Alyx regaining consciousness just after narrowly escaping the Citadels reactor explosion. How or why the two heroes have been graced with the miraculous escape is unknown, however, there is no time to celebrate their victory as the Citadel lurches to life once more and initiates an automated destruct sequence that will turn all of City 17 into a toxic hole in the ground. With Alyx at his side, Gordon races against the clock to escape City 17 and the ever present G-Man.
Episode 1 will be a stand alone expansion, which means Half Life 2 is not required for play. The game will offer a detailed look and playing experience into the events that take place during the 'aftermath' of Half Life 2. Players should expect to see not only the familiar cast and voices of Half Life 2, but an even more advanced character AI, gameplay physics, and the highly detailed environments that have come to be expected from Valve. Additions from the Lost Coast download, such as the High Dynamic Range Lighting technology will insure the visual experience will be second to none.
NPCs of Half Life 2
Episode 1 has been given a new huge role to play as Gordon fights his way out of City 17. Alyx, Barney, even the mighty Dog all take turns running along side Freeman through his exodus. This will not be a case of having an NPC along simply to help you through a storyline situation however. Instead, expect to see Alyx show you exactly how proficient she is in combat as well as Barneys? display of skill that have kept him alive for so long. Don't be too surprised to see anyone of them open up with some new tricks to get the better of your mutant and Combine adversaries.
Be wary though. Your companions may have learned a few new skills, but rest assured that with the new AI improvements, the Combine will make sure that Dr. Freeman will stay on his toes. Not only are the enemies smarter, but now you have a new breed of Combine to look out for, the Stalkers.
Currently, Half Life 2: Episode 1 is planned to be distributed by download via Steam or retail venues. Though Valve has stressed emphasis on releasing downloadable content, such as a complete pre-download of Episode 1 as of May 1st, Valve has assured consumers that the content will continue to be available though retail as long as the demand remains. Valve is also looking to the future of gaming as the newest next generation consoles are becoming available.
Doug Lombardi has been quoted saying, "We're very interested in the next generation systems and we'll be announcing Source support for one of those systems very soon. We are, however, still very committed to the PC."
Half Life 2: Episode 1 is a single player storyline with four to six hours of gameplay. Even though there are no official plans for a Half Life 3, Valve has announced its intentions on continuing the Half Life 2 storyline though additional 'Episodes' in the future. The prospect of additional content, such as Episode 1, will insure a very long 'half life' to this award winning series. There is much that valve is keeping to itself about the future of Half Life however. Expect the unexpected as the story of Dr. Freeman and his fellow freedom fighters advances through future episodes.