It seems like just yesterday when Valve announced a trilogy of expansions for their super-popular PC game, 2004's Half-Life 2. But it’s actually been 15 years since Episode 3 was announced. And while Valve has since released a new Half-Life game, it wasn’t the one the developer announced back in 2006.
Thanks to the internet archive, you can find the original Gamespot article reporting on Valve’s plans for the Half-Life 2 episodes. (There’s also this similarly old Gamasutra article.) Published on May 24, 2006, the article explains that Valve had finished work on Episode 1 and expected Half-Life 2: Episode 2 to release by the end of 2006. (It missed that release window and launched in October 2007.) It also teased that the trilogy would be wrapped up with Episode 3 sometime before December 2007.
15 years later and the trilogy hasn’t been wrapped up yet. And it never will. Or at least it won’t be wrapped up how Valve initially planned.
Valve has long since moved on from the episodic format. For most of the last 15 years, it seemed the company had also moved on from Half-Life. But last year, we finally did get a new game. The virtual reality title Half-Life: Alyx was a fantastic return for the franchise, even if a lot of folks were unable to play it due to it requiring a beefy PC and VR gear.
No massive spoilers, but Alyx does in its own way wrap up some part of the episodic narrative that went unfinished after Half-Life 2: Episode 2's ending. And it even seems to tease a possible next Half-Life game. So who knows, maybe in a few more years we will finally get a Half-Life 3 or Episode 3 or whatever version of three Valve decides on. Whatever happens, it took a long time to get to it.