I still remember playing the Orange Box 10 years ago. That's...10...years...ago! I really enjoyed Half Life 2, it was a really fun game! And I was always wondering if they were going to make Half Life 2: Episode 3 LOL!
That's sad to hear about the lead writers. I think a similar situation happened to BioWare, regarding the Mass Effect series. When you spread a dev team too thin, a series starts to lose its identity...sad, really.