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Half-Life 2 dated at last

Late November release date offers a glimmer of light at the end of the delay tunnel

The most eagerly awaited game in PC history looks like finally has a UK release date. Vivendi Universal Games has apparently informed UK retailers to expect Half-Life 2 on shelves from Friday November 26.

While the date has not officially been confirmed by Vivendi, a senior retail source has told us that the game is almost certain to ship in the last week of November. "It's the very first time they've been confident about finalising a date," our source added.

This release date follows the delivery of final game code to Vivendi from developer Valve on September 15 (we announced it here) and reported legal wranglings between the two companies that threatened to delay release further.

"Vivendi were in the depths of despair over the release date two weeks ago," said our source, "but this new date looks extremely reliable."

Vivendi will surely be desperate to secure a lucrative pre-Christmas release for the long-awaited title, and informing retailers early of its impending arrival is the only way to ensure it receives adequate shelf space on crowded racks.

The first UK print reviews are due to hit newsstands next week. We have it on good authority that it will receive extraordinary scores and review quotes have been requested by Vivendi for promotional purposes. Our sister mag PCZone is out Friday October 8 with the full lowdown.

The word coming from both Valve and Vivendi is that no release date has been confirmed and thus cannot be commented on. We'll bring you the official announcement, and any news that surfaces on the Xbox version, as soon as it happens.

In the meantime, we're left wondering what will happen when Half-Life 2 actually gets released? Will millions of people installing the game on meaty PCs cause apocalyptic power shortages, or will the combined sigh of relief from developers Valve, distributors Vivendi Universal Games, and retailers across the globe knock the Earth out of orbit?

We'll be sure to let you know.