Estimates are that this bug-testing and approval phase should take no more than 2 weeks, putting the release date for the game at the middle of October. Valve's Doug Lombardi told Eurogamer that they are "Hoping [Vivendi] will put out a release date soon".
This will be good news to all the bods that have been busily pre-loading HL2 over Valve's Steam delivery network. Unfortunately for them, the current information seems to be that the game will hit Steam the same day it hits the shelves of stores in the States, so there will be no time gain from ordering direct from Valve - although no information appears to have surfaced about whether or not Europe will face a delay in retail copies, as with the two week lag for Doom 3, and how that will effect Steam delivery.
Conceivably, if Valve's deal with Vivendi is for a simultaneous boxed and Steamed release, it would be easy for Valve to limit Steam purchasing to people solely with US credit cards, enabling delayed deployment to countries where the boxed version won't be out for another week or so.
Lombardi put paid to rumours that HL2 won't ship until next year, indicating that no-one at Vivendi had mentioned this to him. As ever, we shall have to wait and see.
Worth noting is that the publishing of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines is being delayed due to the delay to Half-Life 2, since it also uses the Source engine. We will be interested to see what performance difference there is between HL2 and Vampire on Nvidia and ATI cards - whilst both being based on the Source engine, HL2 is an ATI sponsored title, whereas Vampire is signed up by Nvidia to use Shader Model 3. µ
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