Half-Life 2 Has Landed

Half-Life 2  Has Landed Half-Life 2  Has Landed

Just in case you had any doubts, Half-Life 2 was officially released on the 16th. Those of you, who bought a copy in stores early will finally be able to activate it while those who had already downloaded the game through Steam will now also be able to do the same.

To buy the game online now, visit the SteamPowered Website. If you need more information before you decide, read the MegaGames Half-Life 2 Preview.

When first announced, back in March 2003, it seemed that Half-Life 2 may just be the title to save PC gaming from the clutches of the Big Three console manufacturers. Now that we have come to the day of its release, we can only wonder at what might have been. Even though no one will question the quality of Half-Life 2 as a game, or overall elegance of its design, it is obvious, even to the naked eye, that it has failed to create a similar level of excitement as Halo 2 and GTA:SA, its two main console rivals this season, did.

The first reason for this difference is also the obvious one, both console games had the might of giants, Microsoft and Sony respectively, promoting them; companies which stood to gain from hardware sales as well as game sales. Even though Vivendi Universal Games is not of the same caliber as MS or Sony, it is hard to understand why so little attention and investment was put into H-L 2s release. Hard to understand until you realize how publisher and developer decided to concentrate on bickering and legal disputes rather than on the creation of a successful game. When observing the relationship between VU Games and Valve it also becomes obvious how Half-Life 2, a game which was one of the most highly anticipated titles ever, is unlikely to expand its audience by a significant amount.

Is that the whole story though? It seems that game publishers increasingly prefer releasing and bringing media attention to console titles. We can only assume that this preference is a result of financial gain, possibly from exclusivity or other deals with console manufacturers. As a result pressure on game developers to release console versions of their games before or in place of PC versions has greatly increased and traditional PC studios have turned to console as is the case with Peter Molyneux's Lionhead and Fable, made exclusively for the XBox. It would seem that studios that do not accept this particular turn of events may end up, unintentionally I am sure, on the fringes of the industry. This of course is an observation on the direction in which the industry as a whole seems to be heading. Valve's dispute with VU Games is definitely a complicated matter which suggests that both parties were not paying attention to the development process. Something which makes sense when considering that H-L 2 had its source code stolen due to security blunders, had an initial release date which was completely unrealistic had its final release date unknown until a few day before its release and then had retailers break that date only to sell a product which could not be activated since only gamers with internet connections will get to play it.

It is really a shame that Half-Life 2 will not get its chance to shine and compete with other games on equal terms this holiday season.