The end is finally in sight for one of the most reported-on game development processes ever, with publisher Vivendi Universal Games announcing that Valve's Half-Life 2 has gone gold and will ship on November 16th.
VU Games will release the retail version of the game on that date (which presumably translates as November 19th in Europe, where games are generally launched on Friday), while Valve will also unlock the title for customers of its Steam distribution service then.
There had been widespread fears of a further delay to the game following reports of an ongoing court case between Valve and Vivendi, focused largely on Vivendi's objection to Valve's plans to sell the game on the Steam system - effectively cutting the publisher out of a potentially huge number of online sales.
Half-Life 2 will now launch a week after another of the year's most anticipated games, Bungie's Xbox-exclusive FPS title Halo 2 - although, ironically, what should have been one of the most interesting chart face-offs ever could well be a damp squib if Valve's Steam service successfully diverts consumers from retail outlets.
All sign of the tensions between Valve and Vivendi was absent from this morning's statement, of course, with VU Games CEO Bruce Hack gushing in his praise for Valve's efforts on the game.
"Half-Life 2 has surpassed our expectations in every sense," he enthused. "Its high quality graphics, ground-breaking physics and immersive first-person shooter gameplay set a new standard for PC action games. Half-Life 2 will go down as one of the best-selling PC titles, and we are thrilled to deliver this ground-breaking title to the worldwide gaming community this fall"