Why is Episodic Gaming So Hard?

Valve has once again wowed us all with the release of Half-Life 2: Episode 2. The latest chapter in the journey of Gordon Freeman has received rave reviews for good reason, allowing gamers to quickly forget any frustration that might have been caused by the wait between episodes (a little under two years for Episode 1, a little over a year for Episode 2). After all, Games For Windows Magazine (then Computer Gaming World) once graced its cover to their magazine exclaiming, "A new Half-Life every six months!"

There has been a subtle but perceptible shift in tone when Valve representatives discuss the Half-Life Episodes since their original announcement. The developer has moved away from the term "episodic content," despite being one of its biggest supporters when Episode One was announced. More recently (and explicitly), Valve co-founder Gabe Newell admitted that they might re-think episodic gaming after their trilogy is finished.

Newell and company weren't interested in discussing this subject with 1UP, so they hit the streets and talked to other developers that have tried their hand at episodic gaming -- successfully and not.

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