When Expectations Are Exceeded: Valve

Last week, EA held their big summer press event. When I saw the coverage start pouring in I turned a blind eye. EA, along with Microsoft are in my shit books and I really didn’t care to hear about their list of sequels that are coming out this holiday season. That is, until I saw Valve mentioned in one of the headlines. I had forgotten that Half-Life 2 is now published by EA and with Episode 2 on the horizon, I had to check in to see if there was any exciting news. What followed can only be described as a bombardment of awesomeness.

As promised, Half-Life 2 Episode 2 is still on track for fourth quarter of this year. Excellent! But that’s not all – it will be shipping for the Xbox 360 and PS3 along side the PC release. Now that is huge news! The first thing that crossed my mind is that it might be weird for console games unfamiliar with Half-Life 2 to pick up at Episode 2. Not to worry, Valve has us all covered. The console versions will include the complete Half-Life 2 experience. Half-Life 2 in it’s entirety, Episode 1 and 2, along with the long awaited Team Fortress 2 and a spiffy new single player game called Portal. Whoa, what? Seriously, all of that in a single package is quite possibly the greatest gaming bundle ever. I’ve already played through HL2 numerous times and Episode 1 twice, and I will most definitely be playing them through again on the Xbox 360. In fact, I can hardly wait to get my hands on it!

Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2

If you played the original Half-Life, you’ve no doubt given up all hope of Team Fortress 2 ever being released. After all, it was in development back in the late 90s and was supposed to be built on the HL engine. What was once forgotten has risen from the ashes in a new form that is sure to knock your socks off! Valve decided to go a different route with TF2, and instead of striving for realism, they’re bringing a comic book-esque feel to the table. At first, this might not sound all that interesting. That is, until you watch the trailer which is comprised of entirely in-engine (not pre-rendered) footage. Needless to say, it looks very much like Pixar’s The Incredibles. The characters are made up of exaggerated features and oversized weapons. Each with a physical appearance totally fitting to its class. And speaking of classes, all of the original classes are in tact in TF2.

Portal

Portal

A new comer to the Valve family and previously unannounced game, Portal will also be shipping with HL2 Ep2. From what is shown in the trailer, Portal looks to be a single player walkthrough/tech demo of some new technology that allows you to create dimensial walkways wherever you see fit, thanks to the help of a slightly modified gravity gun. Essentially, you are able to create an entrance and exit portal on any surface. Paired along side Steam engine’s fantastic physics, we’re left with endless possibilities and what is sure to be hours of fun. And speaking of – if you can’t wait to experiment with portals, you can get a taste in Prey. It uses portals (static, you can’t create them yourself) along with pads that when shot, change the orientation of the room. Makes for some pretty interesting scenarios. Be careful though, I was on the verge of tossing my cookies after getting a little too excited about them.

Cinematic Effects

Cinematic Effects

One thing I noticed in both trailers that didn’t seem to draw much attention were the “cinematic effects”. Previously, Valve released a trailer for Day of Defeat Source which showcased some fancy new effects they’re working on for the Steam engine. These effects would bring common visual effects that are seen in film like motion blur and depth of field to gaming.

So, here goes Valve, changing the face of gaming as we know it… again! We’re in for a treat and I’m fucking stoked!


14 Responses to “When Expectations Are Exceeded: Valve”

  1. Holy Crap. Team Fortress 2 looks amazing. Reminds me of XIII which was a fun game, but just better!

    For some reason the opening shot reminds me of Full Throttle point-and-click game. The 'Soldier' grunt guy looks very amusing and the helmet movement is ace. The 'Spy' reminds me of the 'Monkey vs Robot' figurines. And the 'Medic' makes me think of the artwork for Blink 182 – Enema of the State!

    Sidenote, I think they need to develop Full Throttle 2, more Monkey Islands and Sam and Max…

  2. All I can say is wow. I cannot wait to get my hands on this, TF2 looks absolutely amazing.

    I can see myself spending a lot of hours playing this on Xbox Live, make sure to look me up on launch day!

  3. Yes, it's nice to see Valve doing something with the TF name, finally, but to be honest I'm still more excited about Fortress Forever, which will be a direct port of TFC onto the Source engine.

    I know what Valve are trying to do here, but I don't think that it will keep the oldskoolers like me interested for very long.

    Portal looks fucking amazing though, Valve stepping it up another notch. I'm not too crazy about the cinematic effects stuff, but I'm sure it'll be very pretty.

  4. I totally agree. These games are going to rock. Especially the Portals-gameplay is something brand new.

    And the look-and-feel of the TF2-trailer totally blew me away.

    Nice preview, Matt

  5. I just wonder if Valve are going to be the first company to allow Mouse + Keyboard usage on the 360 in the game,

    Just wish that CSS was added to the collection and that we could interact with the PC versions of the mutliplayer side of things.Would certainly mean lag could be a thing of the past for most 😀

  6. Ok, I haven't played games on a console in years. But after seeing the TF2 trailer, I swear, every paycheck from now on will be devoted to getting a 360 so i can PLAY THAT!

    Jessh, they need to make that into a freakin' movie!

    Hey matt, what's the backstory on the characters in TF2?

  7. Indeed, Portal will be one hell of an experience. Especially the first few times around.

    I've been playing Prey a lot since last night and I must say, they've done really cool shit with portals and these crazy walkways that let you walk on walls ceilings. Can be disorienting at times, but has definitely added a unique experience to an other wise pretty straight forward shooter.

    @viperteq: I'm not sure about the back story of the characters. I'm sure more will be revealed as we approach the release of TF2. When I said the classes were carried through, I meant the type of dudes you can play – IE sniper, medic, engineer, etc.

  8. I remember just before HL2 was released, I was worried that after all the hype, it might not live up to expectations. Thankfully I was wrong.

    Now it seems like Valve just go from strength to strength, everything they are putting out right now is just miles in front of the competition.

    I wonder if TF2 will be the first game to have Xbox vs PS3 vs PC, cross platform multi player, that would be awesome.

  9. Wait wait… releases alongside with PS3? Even bigger news in my mind meaning that PS3 should be released within the fourth quarter as well. That is news to me.

    Also, why does it seem like the games are becoming… more cartoonish? Examine and compare the characters from TF2 with Pixar's "The Incredibles"… as well as the Cinematic Effects towards the bottom.

    As well, looking at Portal seemingly enough reminds me a little bit of WhosWeStudios.com

    None-the-less, still amazing and I also can not wait to get my hands on yet another great Valve release.