Vivendi Universal Games said Tuesday it plans to ship "Half-Life 2" to retailers in November, bringing to market the eagerly anticipated PC game that has been plagued by missed launch dates and a hacker attack on its development company.
Vivendi said it plans to have "Half-Life 2," the sequel to one of the best-selling video games ever, on shelves on Nov. 16 in time for the crucial holiday season that is the biggest sales period for video game makers and toy companies.
The game is considered so important to the industry that at one point its delay last year helped prompt analysts to lower their PC game growth forecasts.
"HL2" was also seen as key to hardware companies like PC graphics chip makers ATI Technologies Inc. and Nvidia Corp. , who count on video game players to consistently buy the newest, fastest and most-expensive chips to play intensive games like "HL2."
The game had been set for a Sept. 30 release last year, but the week before that date, its developer Valve Software said "HL2" would not launch on schedule. Instead it was scheduled for release at some unspecified point that holiday season.
Subsequently, Valve said some of the game's code had been stolen by hackers that infiltrated the company's e-mail systems. Bits of that code appeared on the Internet, as did what some fans said in online forums were playable portions of the game.
The original "Half-Life," released in 1998, is still popular among PC gamers, and a modified version of the game, called "Counter-Strike," is widely used in gaming competitions.
"Half-Life 2" stars Gordon Freeman, a scientist battling aliens from the planet Xen in a mysterious European locale known only as City 17.