Valve have this idea which goes, let's not take five years to make the next game. Let's do an episodic game, man. Since we successfully shoved this Steam thing up everyone's backside and it's kind of non-sucky these days, we can sell bits of mission pack for Half-Life 2 every few months. The punters will be hooked, they'll be eating out of our hands!
Right. Except that the episode 2 was due winter last year and now it seems it's actually due winter this year. Episodic content with each chapter a full year appart. This can only be a symptom of Valve's rock-star developer world view. I mean sure HL-2 was great and so was episode 1, although it wasn't so great I actually finished it, but to have a year between little bits of Half-Life 2 game? Games are moving on, I'm looking to play new stuff.
I think the episodic download stuff has legs but only so long as you actually deliver in a time frame that people remember the original game and still want to play it. It could well be, of course, that the delay is due to the alleged bundling of Team Fortress 2. Haha, this is rank vaporware up there with Duke Nukem Forever. Like Duke Nukem Forever, I saw Team Fortress 2 at E3 many years ago when I worked on a games magazine and it still hasn't shown up.
I like Valve but it seems they're more and more moving towards a 3D Realms model. Famous for shit they once did but legendary for their inability to actually deliver games. Unless they're writing the cheques for some other developers to make them...