Half-Life 2 developer Valve has today confirmed that Episode One, the first expansion to last year’ Half-Life sequel, will be released on June 1st in North America digitally via Steam for $19.99 (£10), although whether this also applies to Europe is yet to be made clear.
Valve has also confirmed that the title will be the first in a trilogy, which is expected to be completed by Christmas 2007; a sneak preview of Episode Two is set to be packaged with Episode One along with two multiplayer games and free access to the HDR demonstration, Half-Life 2: Lost Coast. According to Valve, Episode One is approximately four to six hours in length, and follows on from the events of Half-Life 2 as a player controlled Gordon Freeman continues his fight against the Combine.
“Given the rapid changes in PC gaming, we expect episodic games will have the same impact on single-player gaming that Counter-Strike had on multiplayer,” said Gabe Newell, President and Co-founder of Valve. “The frequent releases of upgraded technology and new content works better for both consumers and developers, and is one of the key reasons Counter-Strike grew to be 80% of the online action market. We decided that a follow-up to Half-Life 2 delivered in 18 months with our first episode was more in tune with what our customers want than waiting 6 years for another monolithic product.”