More confusion over Half-Life 2 release date

New question marks have been raised over the launch date of Valve's Half-Life 2, which is thought to have been pushed back to 2004, with EB Games in the USA now listing the title for a November launch once again.

Last week we reported that Vivendi Universal Games chief executive Christophe Ramboz had stated that the game would be pushed back to 2004 following the illegal distribution of source code from the game online; however, Valve has not officially confirmed this so far.

It's not clear what information EB Games has used as a basis for its November 27 release slot, but the retailer admits that this date is likely to change before the game actually comes out – so it may just be a best guess estimate.

However, Valve's lack of comment on Ramboz' statement is interesting – since ultimately the decision over the release date is likely to rest almost entirely with them, rather than with publisher Vivendi. Indeed, some sources have suggested that Valve are unhappy with Ramboz going public with the 2004 figure, which he allegedly did not discuss with the developer beforehand.

Meanwhile the damage from the hacking attack which resulted in the theft of the source code continues to mount, with an actual playable version of the game appearing on pirate sites around the Internet late last week and featuring all of the levels of the E3 demo as well as significant amounts of additional content from the game.

This is far more damaging to Valve than the original leak of the source code, which was embarrassing for the company but did not feature any actual game content. The hackers have also allegedly released versions of Counter-Strike and the original Half-Life singleplayer game upgraded to run on the new HL2 engine, which were apparently set to launch alongside Half-Life 2. Messages purporting to come from the hacker who attacked Valve's network have since threatened to release additional parts of the game online.

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