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Further slippage sees Half-Life 2 targeting summer

Valve's massively anticipated first person shooter, Half-Life 2, will not meet the April date announced for the game last year by publisher Vivendi, and is now set for a summer release according to a statement from the developer.

Valve's massively anticipated first person shooter, Half-Life 2, will not meet the April date announced for the game last year by publisher Vivendi, and is now set for a summer release according to a statement from the developer.

The game was originally announced just ahead of the E3 trade show last May, and was given a firm launch date of September 30th 2003 - but a series of mishaps, including the much publicised theft of source code from Valve's network, caused the date to slip first to Christmas, and then to April 2004.

This latest delay was announced by Valve's marketing director Doug Lombardi, who told CNN/Money's Game Over column that the company "is currently targeting this summer for the completion of Half-Life 2".

The repercussions of Half-Life 2's date moving are significant, and not only to Valve and its publisher, Vivendi Universal Games. PC graphics card manufacturers ATI and NVIDIA expect the game, which uses a host of new graphics card features, to drive sales of their hardware, and retailers can also expect to see a spike in PC game sales thanks to the launch - both factors which will now shift quarters, from a financial perspective.

The slippage also means that Half-Life 2 will now be putting in an appearance at E3 for a second year running - as will its main rival on the show floor from last year, Bungie's Xbox title Halo 2, which was recently announced as having slipped to next autumn. A third major action title, id Software's Doom III, is also expected to appear at the show, this time for a third year running.

In other Half-Life 2 news, French developer Arkane Studios, which created the well-received if commercially underperforming PC and Xbox role playing game Arx Fatalis, has licensed Valve's "Source Engine" technology for use in a forthcoming title. Another developer, Troika, is already well progressed in the creation of a game using the technology, with Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines set for release in spring 2005.

The fact that the engine is building up momentum as saleable technology before the game is even released is a coup for Valve. Although the original Half-Life engine (which was based itself on technology from id Software's Quake engine) was hugely popular among mod-makers, who created games including the world's most popular multiplayer first-person shooter Counter-Strike using it, it never really gained acceptance as a platform for producing commercial titles, with developers favouring id's Quake 3 engine and Epic's Unreal technology.

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Rob Fahey avatar

Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.