H-L 2 Arrests and Possible Delay

H-L 2 Arrests and Possible Delay

Arrests have been made in several countries related to the break-in to Valve's network, theft of the Half-Life 2 source code, and release of the source code on the Internet.

Rumours of such arrests had been doing the rounds for over a month now, without any official word. This is the first time that the FBI has confirmed arrests, with agent Ray Lauer in Seattle, refusing to comment further, since it is an ongoing case investigated by the Northwest Cyber Crime Task Force, a group of federal, state and local investigators.

Valve has also issued a press release in which the company's CEO, Gabe Newell thanks the gaming community by saying: Within a few days of the announcement of the break-in, the online gaming community had tracked down those involved. It was extraordinary to watch how quickly and how cleverly gamers were able to unravel what are traditionally unsolvable problems for law enforcement related to this kind of cyber-crime.

Thousands of tips were received related to the criminal activities, with a core group of people who were able to analyze and backtrack from these clues. Subsequent to these individuals being identified, Valve has been working with various national authorities to prepare cases against those involved, leading to these arrests.

It was very uplifting to see how the community rallied and tracked these people down. Everyone here at Valve is once again reminded of how much we owe to the gaming community, added Mr. Newell.

The number of people arrested, their location and the extent of their implication in the theft is not clear yet but recent rumours suggest a German, also responsible for the Phatbot worm, may have been involved. Whether the arrests will tie-in the theft with other stories of equipment being seized in San Francisco and of keystroke recorders installed at Valve's offices, remains to be seen.

Although the current news must make most H-L 2 fans happy, the timing casts a question mark over the game's release date. Following the theft, Half-Life 2's release changed from Christmas 2003 to sometime in 2004, it was only just before E3 that Valve begun b>not denying a possible summer release date. A look at Vivendi Universal's, H-L 2's publisher, mid-year release timetable however, raises some doubt over the summer release since the game is not included. What is even more troubling is that the timetable includes other titles, known to have a planned Christmas release for VU Games, suggesting that H-L 2 may miss the holidays of 2004 as well.

Let us hope that Valve choose to recognize the help they received from the gaming community and stick to the summer release we have all been hoping for.