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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 October, 2004, 08:30 GMT 09:30 UK
Half-Life 2 set for mid-November
Screenshot of Half-Life 2
Half-Life 2 has been years in the making
One of the most anticipated computer games of the year, Half-Life 2, is seeing the light of day in November.

The game is due to go on sale worldwide on 16 November, its publisher Vivendi has announced.

As well as appearing in the shops, the title will also be available to download over the internet direct from the game's makers, Valve.

Half-Life 2 is the follow-up to one of the most lauded games ever and its release has been repeatedly delayed.

Hacked code

Since its 1998 launch, Half-Life and its various add-on packs, such as Counter-Strike, have sold more than eight million copies worldwide, according to Valve.

Screenshot of Counter-Strike: Source
Counter-Strike: Source will be bundled with the game
The first-person shooter won several awards for its intelligent characters, plot and challenging puzzles.

Its sequel has been eagerly awaited by fans.

Early reviews of the game have been promising, with PC Gamer magazine giving it a rating of 96%.

"It's true that long-awaited video games sometimes struggle to live up to the hype and anticipation surrounding them," said Matt Pierce, publisher of PC Gamer.

"However, for the vast majority of PC gamers, Half-Life 2 will likely deliver exactly what they've been hoping for, with its incredibly rich single-player experience, and Counter-Strike: Source multi-player element".

Half-Life 2 was originally supposed to appear in September 2003 but has faced several delays.

Valve suffered a setback when key parts of the game were leaked on the internet in October 2003.

It said the blueprints to the game had been taken from its computers after a hacking effort in September.

Locked copies

Its publisher Vivendi has now said that the game is finished and will go on sale worldwide on 16 November.

Screenshot of Half-Life 2
One would expect sales via Steam to be considerable in territories like the US where broadband penetration is high
Matt Pierce, PC Gamer
The game will also come with the online multi-player shooter, Counter-Strike: Source.

Fans have already been able to get a taste of the online game, buying it direct from the game's makers Valve using a proprietary digital distribution system called Steam.

Valve has been letting members of its online Steam community get hold of encrypted copies of Half-Life 2 over the internet.

It means thousands of people already have the game on their hard drives, but it is locked.

When officially launched, Valve will release the codes to access the encrypted files and start playing immediately.

"It's difficult to say how much of an affect online Steam distribution might have on retail sales at this point in time," said Mr Pierce.

"One would expect sales via Steam to be considerable in territories like the US where broadband penetration is high.

"But then there's the question of collectability. Many gamers will always prefer to have their own boxed copy, complete with discs and manual, even if that requires a trip to the shops."

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03 Oct 03  |  Technology

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