It feels like a lifetime ago that Valve's flagship franchise, Half-Life, first graced our presence, and few PC gamers will need an introduction. First releasing in 1998, it became a critical success and was widely regarded one of the best games ever made, seeing developers Valve follow it up with two expansions and a multiplayer mode.
This led to development of a sequel, Half-Life 2, which eventually released back in 2004. Much like the original title, it also saw critical acclaim and saw a much wider audience through its inclusion within Valve's Orange Box years later on home consoles.
Seeing two follow up episodes released in 2006 and 2007, these were intended to be an episodic trilogy but the infamous Episode Three never materialised despite previous promises, leaving the storyline on a cliffhanger ending.
It's been 13 years since Episode Two but later this month, Half-Life finally makes its grand return through Half-Life Alyx, a virtual reality exclusive set between HL1 and HL2.
With Alyx almost here, its worth looking back upon Half-Life 2. Coming with an interesting development history, both before and after its release, it became one of PC's most widely studied games.
12. A Series Marred By Delays
For many years, you couldn’t escape the inevitable “Half-Life 3 Confirmed” jokes that came with any major gaming news. Having seen Half-Life 2: Episode 3 face delays to the point where fans just gave up on it, many were surprised that Half-Life Alyx stuck to its initial confirmed release window.
Historically though, it’s a series notable for delays. Half-Life 1 was initially scheduled for a November 1997 release but Valve was unsatisfied with it, so completely reworked the game and released it a year later instead.
Half-Life 2 faced similar issues, though this received much greater public attention. Aiming to be finished by the end of 2003, it became increasingly apparent within Valve that this deadline wouldn’t be met and a playable build was leaked, confirming this.
Working through high-levels of crunch after Christmas, Half-Life 2 finally released in October 2004.