So, as usual Valve has decided to postpone making Half Life 3 in favor of different games (Dota 2, Now Counter Strike: GO) which left me sort of wondering about the half life franchise itself. When Half Life (original) was released it revolutionized the game world with radical new features. Now, these features which once took the gaming world by surprise now are common features in every other game on the market.
Obviously, it didn't stop there. Half Life 2 introduced the world famous Source Engine, voice synching, 3d cinematics, etc... However these too have become commonplace. The Source Engine is now horribly outdated, and surpassed in ease of use and graphical horsepower by other more convenient engines. This doesn't make the games they produced any less fun, don't misunderstand, however the Source Engine is simply showing its age.
Think about Duke Nukem Forever, which got HORRIBLE reviews. If that game had been released 1 year after the release of Half Life 2 the reviews would have probably been phenomenal. The thing is gamers are expecting MORE from video games. They want better graphics, better online play, unlockables, achievements, etc...
Looking at the running Half Life saga, the only new thing to be added so far is new story (not that I'm complaining, I love the Half Life story). There's been next to NO new weapon's updates, little graphics updates (Source Engine Ep2 still looks like the Source Engine, with bells and whistles).
Which leads me to believe that Valve is either going to release Episode 3 with the same style as the previous episodes, which would result in mediocre reviews from game companies who expect more, or they need to revolutionize the Half Life series and perhaps ruin the series altogether with new gameplay.
So maybe it's too late for Half Life 3 to be a world-shaking game release? Maybe Valve has actually missed a mark on a game?