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Penny Arcade Adventures discontinued, 'there won't be an episode 3'

We preemptively apologize for kicking off PAX East with a real downer, but a job's a job ... so here goes: "There won't be an Episode 3," Penny Arcade's Mike Krahulik told Joystiq this morning. "We're actually not making a third episode of the game." Penny Arcade Adventures was originally unveiled at PAX 2007 in Seattle as a four-part episodic series, marking the webcomic duo's first foray into video game creation, as opposed to video game critique. With the first two episodes following in fairly rapid succession – Episode 1 was released in May 2008 with Episode 2 following just five months later in October 2008 – the prolonged absence of Episode 3 has been notable. Coupled with the news that Episode 2 only earned "one-third the sales of Episode 1," things didn't look promising for the series.

"[The game's developer] Hothead has DeathSpank and they have a chance to do something really cool with it," Jerry Holkins, the other half of the duo, said. "And they need to have an opportunity to make it incredible." With a recently announced EA Partners ... uh, partnership, DeathSpank certainly has some weight behind it. But why not create both titles? Holkins says, "They definitely could've done both games. I think they could've made DeathSpank and Episode 3 but I think Episode 3 would've suffered. I mean, I know it would have suffered. So we'd rather not do it than do it half-assed and so we're going to finish that story but it's going to be on our website."

"Right now my focus is on trying to create an episodic story-based version of the remaining games. It's going to be like a book that comes out," Holkins explained, comparing it to Dickens' illustrated episodic classic, The Pickwick Papers. "According to the traditional model of episodic fiction." Asked if the first two Episodes that did make it into video game form would be included in this episodic story, Holkins said, "I'd like to write them out, that'd be great. I hadn't considered that ... I fully intend for these episodes to include flashbacks and things of that nature."

When we compared the situation to the unfortunately terse close to the Shenmue "trilogy," Holkins elaborated, "Certainly if you played that second one – and Shenmue is one of my favorite series of all time – I feel that loss keenly, which is another reason I need to give people something unique."

Asked if the ambitious goal of planning an episodic series as your first video game development foray, Holkins said, "I strongly suspect there were many problems." Regardless, he continued, "Our main goal at this point is to make sure that people aren't left hanging on a narrative side, and to allow Hothead to do the best they can on their project."

We'll be honest, when Krahulik told us last August, "When you hear the announcement, you'll be like 'oooooh.' It'll make sense," this isn't quite what we had in mind. Holkins had added, "You'll feel vigor in all of your limbs." We're not sure this is what vigor is supposed to feel like.

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