The long running saga of Half-Life 2's release date has taken another turn for the unpredictable as developer's Valve and publishers Vivendi Universal Games sue one another in the US District Court.

The legal ramblings are long and, well, rambling but the up and down of it is that, among other things, Valve don't like the fact that Vivendi have distributed Half-Life to web cafes around the world and Vivendi don't like Valve's use of the Steam distribution system.

The crux of the matter is that the two companies aren't on the best of terms and US website GameSpot has discovered that once Vivendi has the gold version of the game, they don't have to release it for a period of up to six months - meaning that the game could be delayed again. Given that Valve handed a release candidate to Vivendi at the beginning of the month and there has still been no word to either the public or, apparently, Valve themselves about a possible release date you're left wondering just how long Vivendi are planning to hang on to the game for.

The carrot of hope at the end of this tunnel of despair however is that Vivendi haven't been doing too well in their recent financial reports and will be looking for something to boost the next one. Releasing Half-Life 2 would certainly do that.

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