The news most of us have been waiting for has finally been confirmed: Valve is readying the first expansion pack for the unanimously acclaimed Half-Life 2. Provisionally titled 'Aftermath', the new adventures of Gordon Freeman and his able sidekick Alyx is tentatively scheduled for a 'summer' release, according to PC Gamer UK, which has - incredibly - scooped the world with its cover feature on the hotly anticipated game in its May issue, out today.
Grabbing a quick chat with Valve designer Robin Walker and writer Marc Laidlaw, the ten page PC Gamer feature doesn't reveal much in the way of concrete information, but instead, the ever-slippery chaps at Valve talk around the subject of the game, choosing to focus more on their motivations for choosing to make new Half-Life 2 content all by themselves rather than, say, farm out the job to Gearbox as it did during the Half-Life era.
The focus for Aftermath appears to break with the Half-Life tradition of presenting the storyline from the viewpoint of other key characters in the game, with the mooted Alyx-based episode apparently not happening as many of us imagined it might. Instead, it would appear that as a compromise, Alyx figures as a much more active partner of Gordon Freeman's adventures.
As Walker asserts in the PCG interview, the rationale is for the player to get a much greater sense of attachment to Alyx, after doing so much to introduce her in Half-Life 2: "It's kind of ironic that despite so much of the theme of Half Life 2 being about other characters and other people, you spent most of the game alone."
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