Gabe Newell told Develop that the episodic development philosophy has been replaced wholesale by the ‘games as a service’ model.The ‘games as a service’ credo is to create games that are platforms in themselves; content that can be rapidly reconstructed through a series of updates.
“For me, ‘entertainment as a service’ is a clear distillation of the episodic content model,” Newell added.
A major factor in the need for reform was the wellbeing of Valve’s developers, Newell said.
Newell revealed to Develop that, throughout the Half-Life 2 project, he became acutely aware of his responsibility to look after his team.
“I’ve become obsessed with this issue now,” he said.
But Valve is nevertheless moving on. Its new approach is to embed itself in its community of 30 million Steam customers.
The idea is to obtain as much feedback from the community as possible, and in return build entertainment that capitalises on their tastes.
This is not a content creation philosophy limited to games; Valve has made short animations and comics from this approach.
“Team Fortress 2 is the fastest frequency we work on with comparatively fast updates. Er, Half-Life is apparently the slowest! [Laughs] Although, from the outside world, we have no evidence that Half-Life is working on any frequency at all. [Laughs]
So basically this confirms Episode 3 is dead and Half-life 3 seems to be the way they are going to go.