Its been like a bloody soap opera. Will they? Won't they? Will the code thiefs be found? Will Gabe Newell wake up in the shower one morning, and realise that this is all just a dream? These questions and more have been doing the rounds since Half Life 2's spectacular video appearance in E3 2003. And now we finally have what we wanted- a release date. Well, an UN-confirmed release date.

The rumour mill has pumped out two dates so far. November 23rd for the USA and November 26th for Europe. However, these individual dates may be meaningless if Valves Steam system delivers as promised. The big problem is that due to current legal issues between Valve and publisher Vivendi-Universal, nothing is certain. However, this seems likely to be resolved (or at least put on hold) in the meantime, as neither company can afford the game missing out on the lucrative Christmas market.

As it stands, they need to avoid anymore delays. This problem has snowballed from when they missed the first release date of Sept 2003 by over a year and customer interest seems to have waned since then. People are still looking forward to it, but Half-Life 2 has still taken damage in that a lot of its key features and selling points have already been seen in games this year. The physics engine, for example, has been effectively used in both Psi-Ops and Second Sight, amongst others.

So, November 23rd then, to get the sequel to one of the best games ever made. In any event, if Half-Life 2 does meet the release date, its going to have some stiff competition. In a month were every platform seems to have a key FPS release, lets hope Half-Life 2 will still impress.

Carry on the conversation on the VideoGamer forums!