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PC Games (Games)

Half-Life 2 Orange/Black Delayed to End of 2007 74

Wowzer writes "EA and Valve today announced the product configurations of Half-Life 2's The Black Box and The Orange Box, while at the same time confirming another worldwide release date delay from summer 2007 to winter 2007. If you thought the delay was the only bad news, then artwork fans haven't seen the ugly new boxart yet."
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Half-Life 2 Orange/Black Delayed to End of 2007

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  • Box art? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yuioup ( 452151 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @01:02PM (#17935614)
    Who cares about the box art when you can buy it through Steam. :-P

    • That would be the people who dont buy it through Steam then. Some people collect things while others prefer a physical copy.
      • Plus, if the same holds from Episode One, you can buy a retail copy cheaper than getting it through Steam.

        ($10 retail vs. $20 online if I remember right.)
      • by rwven ( 663186 )
        IMHO a physical copy is completely redundant in this case. Once you add it to your steam account you can sign in and download it anywhere...even if you originally just had the physical copy. You can't play it WITHOUT steam so there's no benefit at all from having a physical copy. You can't "preload" a physical copy either.
        • Dial-up (Score:3, Informative)

          by tepples ( 727027 )

          Once you add it to your steam account you can sign in and download it anywhere...even if you originally just had the physical copy. You can't play it WITHOUT steam so there's no benefit at all from having a physical copy.

          Steam + dial-up Internet + download doesn't work all that well. Steam + dial-up Internet + physical copy does work.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Bob of Dole ( 453013 )
          Valve can't TURN OFF my physical copy, either.
          Because they think I was cheating, because they went out of business, or because they've written Half-Life 3 and all those damn copies of HL2 still out there are really eating into their business...

          I will never buy a product* where the author gets to decide if I can use it. This is DRM times infinity, it's the most retarded idea the software industry has ever come up with.

          *Within reason. Some products actually do require remote servers, and access to those remot
          • I will never buy a product* where the author gets to decide if I can use it. This is DRM times infinity, it's the most retarded idea the software industry has ever come up with.

            Then perhaps software is not for you, because most EULA's pretty much have just that in them. Now granted, if you physically possess the disks, it is a lot harder to enforce that, but I am just saying.

            One thing to consider is the effects of a distribution model such as Steam. While it does have DRM (something that is necessary if you are making your stuff available on the net), it also allows for a company like Valve to get away from needing a big publishing/distribution company to make their software av

            • I have no problem with Steam as a distribution model. But what does bother me is that *every time* I play HL2 - which is a single-player game - it needs to contact the Mothership. If Steam is down, or (more likely) my cable broadband is out, I can't play.
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by TeraCo ( 410407 )
                Use offline mode? If your offline mode doesn't work, then it's broken and you should fix it.
                • The problem I found is that you can't turn on offline mode, unless you are online. So if you try to connect and Steam can't get hold of the server, then you can't say "just let me use Steam offline". You have to wait until Steam does find the server, at which point you don't need offline mode!
          • by Kagenin ( 19124 )

            Valve can't TURN OFF my physical copy, either.
            Because they think I was cheating...

            I'm an admin on a DoD:S server, and if you're cheating on our servers, you get banned. Most other servers have similar views regarding cheating, and rather enjoy Valve's efforts at keeping cheaters off our servers.

            Remember WON? Just because you have a CD doesn't mean you can't get banned from online service. You can keep playing single player, no prob, even just with Steam, too. Get banned from CS:S, DoD:S, or HL2:DM, and

            • But then again, I don't worry about getting banned.

              A few years ago my brother and I were screwing around on my private server (not even a dedicated server, I was running the host on my local machine) and as a result they thought he was cheating and banned his WON ID. The appeals process for this? None. They wouldn't even respond to my emails asking why he was banned. It's a pretty crappy way to treat your customers, I think.

              Furthermore, the cheat detection process isn't perfect. There are going to be s
          • Valve can't TURN OFF my physical copy, either.

            Incorrect. Your physical copy is likely just a steam cache file and steam installer. Thats what HL2 was from what I heard from my friends in Iraq trying to get it to install without an internet connection-- didn't work out so well.

            Personally I think steam is a good idea, just horrible implementation in many ways. With that said, overall I'm glad its in use -- I don't have to keep track of a scratched up CD-R with my hl cdkey on it anymore, I can just download st

    • by rwven ( 663186 )
      I was thinking the same thing. This is rather depressing though. I was looking forward to it being released Q1 2007 and i find out all in one day that it had already been pushed back to Q3 (and I didn't know it) and that they were delaying it even further than THAT.

      But yeah... If all games were available via download, I'd never buy a game from a retail store...
    • To my knowledge, the 360 and PS3 won't have access to Steam and so you'll have to buy the Orange Box separately.

      On a tangental note, it might be a good idea for Valve to develop console friendly versions of their platform since both consoles support hard drives and launching applications from these hard drives. Plus, it'd open them up to a whole new revenue stream with considerably more money attached. If I could use my current Steam ID on my PS3 to download PS3 friendly games (like the Orange Box), I'd d
      • On a tangental note, it might be a good idea for Valve to develop console friendly versions of their platform

        Would Sony approve it? Would Microsoft approve it? Console makers want to approve every title that goes on their platforms. For example, instead of submitting a proposal for a title to be added to Steam, Microsoft wants publishers to submit a separate proposal directly to Microsoft for each 50 MB episode that goes onto Xbox Live Arcade.

        • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
          Also there'd be no point to Steam on consoles because Steam's only benefit is that it's a popular service and getting your game placed and advertised on it will generate many sales, on consoles there already is an official channel for downloads that everybody will see.
      • Why? It certainly wouldn't do anything good for consumers, at least for Xbox Live consumers. Steam doesn't do anything that Xbox Live doesn't already do quite nicely.

        Besides, Steam is an example of the most oppressive DRM and I have no interest in supporting it. I might have to put up with Windows because there's software that only works on that OS, but I certainly don't have to support Steam's authentication schemes since all I lose out on are some games. I'm looking forward to a Steam-less 360 versio
        • I think they're going to have to make it some form of Steam via Xbox Live. HL2 uses your Steam ID as part of the player code. It's actually exported and part of the server DLL code they distribute for modding. I imagine it's populated by the engine itself, but I don't know if they'll turn it off or not. If they instead make it part of the Xbox Live network that might be why it's taking a little longer. Of course, on the Playstation side they can effectively do what they want since there isn't really a
          • As long as they make it so that I don't know that Steam is involved, and so long as, like any other 360 game, the game can be played without ever being connected to the Internet, then I can bend my principles enough to play what everyone says is a great game. My nose can be hard sometimes, but I still wouldn't cut it off to spite my face. :)
    • No seriously - why support steam?

      I've now purchased 3 things through steam, HL2, HL2 Ep1 and Sin episodes.
      For each one of these I've purchased the game was cheaper by 10->40% in some stores in under 2 months.

      No I'm not exaggerating, any gaming forum, the game is still darn hot and people are posting "hey guys, sin ep1 is at best buy for 9.99 on special" etc
      So it's HALF what I paid for the digitally distributed version?

      Seriously they need to get their pricing model fixed

      Oh and HL2 - the price drop on Stea
  • What's wrong with the box artwork? It's just as creative as the cover of The Beatles' 'White Album'.
    • What's wrong with the box artwork? It's just as creative as the cover of The Beatles' 'White Album'.

      There's a difference between minimalistic [] and tacky []

    • Eh, with a few minor changes it could be pretty good. I remember my Steam gold pack shipped out the extras in a nice shiny black box with a single orange lambda logo in the center, same with the hat. If they did the same for the Black box and added "Black box" in small type below it, the boxart would look stellar in comparison. Leave the 'what's inside!' title for a list on the back. I don't know if Orange box is redeemable, though.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      It's like, how much more orange could this be? And the answer is none. None more orange.
    • The box art looks amateurish at best. A minimalist design only works well when the design has one distinct element in the layout. In the case of that Half Life 2 packaging you've got a few logos competing for attention, the worst one being that Playstation 3 logo.

      The designer might have been forced to use to logos, but that still doesn't excuse the typography which is atrocious. There's no sense of order and the text runs on like it's one long title. Nothing is emphasized.

      Game packaging is rarely known for
    • I think the boxart makes it look like it's a DVD full of pirated games.
  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @01:08PM (#17935718)
    I, for one, am absolutely SHOCKED at this news.

    As I have mentioned before, packaging a product with TF2 is like throwing it into a black hole from which no release date can escape. Yes, the current TF2 is totally different from the old TF2, but it still carries the same curse. For all I know, TF2 is completely done and ready to ship, and Ep2 or Portal are holding up the works. That is irrelevant. That just means that TF2 has infected the other products with the curse, in much the same way a rat will infect another creature with the plague.

    I wouldn't put any money on this thing getting released in Winter '07 either.

    In other news, why include two different links to the same exact article in the write-up?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Nos. ( 179609 )
      No actually, its my fault. When we were all anxiously awaiting the release of HL2, I bought a new computer a few months before the expected release date (this was after the whole code leak fiasco) in anticipation of its release. Sure enough, it was delayed, and didn't get released for about 8 more months. Well, guess what. I just bought a new computer in anticipation of Portal and TF2. I apologize to everyone. Next time, I'll wait until the game is released before I buy a new computer.
      • I was at fault for the Oblivion delay when I did the same thing.
      • by SuperQ ( 431 ) *
        See, this is why I'm waiting for the release of TF2 to buy a new box.. since I don't game much anymore, my athlon64 3000 works fine for running firefox and a few dozen xterms. :)

        Hopefully the release doesn't break cedega.
    • I actually am shocked, I predicted [] they wouldn't delay it until this summer.
      • by Thansal ( 999464 )

        just had to go and rub my nose in it didn't you!

        Oh, and I am honestly surprised at the delay, I thought they had alread had their delays.

        Oh well, Fanboy wishful thinking again.

        By then I will probably even have managed to get my hands on a Wii.

        heh :)
    • Speaking of TF2, I wonder how well it will do againts Fortress Forever which, based on what I've seen of both games, is vastly superior to TF2, and will likely be released earlier. Valve is competing againts a mod running on their own game.
      • I say a pox on both their teams. Feels like both groups are standing on the short side of the finish line, politely requesting the other fellow to cross first and receive the adulation of the Fortress community. "No, no, after you. I insist." I am once again becoming resigned to playing a fading TF Classic and am mentally editing both next gen versions out of my hopes. Guess I am the type who would edit a sour relationship out of my long term memory were the technology available.

        Vastly superior to TF

        • I think he maybe referring to that old debate between TFC fan: Which is the true sequel of Team Fortress Classic? I wouldn't call FF superior, but in terms of the classes we do know they will be more faithful to the classic classes. That is probably what he bases his statement on. Valve has repeatedly stated that TF2 will have classes reevaluated and in some cases redefined, such as the medic class. Another point of contention arises over the thematic elements of TFC. FF has taken the route of polygon pushi
  • I could be 100% wrong but could this decision be (at least in part) that EA and Valve are waiting for the userbase of the XBox 360 and PS3 to hit a point where it would be worthwile?

    An article I saw on google news earlier today was titled EA: Microsoft, Sony, We Have a Problem [] argued that EA's bottom line was being hurt mainly because they banked on massive success for the PS3 and XBox 360; it is debateable as to whether this is true or not. My thought is that if you were anticipating releasing a game to a
    • EA has complained about the entire generation from the PSP onward. They're shoving love all over Nintendo and complaining about Sony and Microsoft. I wouldn't have a problem with this except for the fact that 90% of their problems on the new consoles are their own. They complained the PSP was too difficult to develop for, which is proven by showstopping bugs on Madden 06 [], NCAA Football 2007 [], and insanely long loading times in other games like Sims 2. Does the PSP have a problem with the UMD? Yes. Is EA
      • I have to argue that EA does not (typically) produce 'Crapy' games as much as they produce generic games with an adequate level of creative and technical skill; with many obvious exceptions, you know that you can buy an EA game and it will be an above average game, it will play as you would expect and will not require heroics in order to get it to run on your system.

        As much as EA is starting to throw heavy support behind the Wii you can see their lack of focus on the platform. Many of their sports games (bo
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by BarneyL ( 578636 )
      I think they're trying not to go head to head with the imminent Duke Nukem release..
  • by PIPBoy3000 ( 619296 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @01:21PM (#17935856)
    I remember when Gabe stated that HL2 would be coming out, right around the time the ATI deal was going on. I went out and bought a shiny new 9800 Pro, only to find out a few weeks later that HL2 was delayed a year. I wasn't too bitter, as my new card made a bunch of new games play quite nicely, and it lasted for quite awhile.

    I do find that Valve's release estimates have been pretty consistently horrible. New game companies often make mistakes when estimating release dates. Valve's been around for awhile, though, so you'd think they'd be doing better. Personally I think it's a result of trying to release on multiple platforms and bundle lots of components into one package.

    I'm not sure episodic content is really episodic if there's over a year delay between releases. It's starting to feel more like an expansion pack or something.
    • by flitty ( 981864 )
      Yeah, But no one seems really surprised or sad about the delay. I think Valve puts out strong enough products that everyone understands the delays. I'd rather have this game at the end of the year instead of a game that is just cashing in and sucks.

      This also allows for the hype machine to swirl over a long amount of time, constantly building anticipation. With how formulaic Vavle's delays are, I wonder if they are just a marketing scheme.
      • Exactly,

        * If a bad game ships on time, no one will remember it.

        * But if a good game is late, no one will remember it was late.

        The game industry sucks at times...
      • For HL2, the delays were worth it, because you were looking at getting a 40+ hour game with super-cutting edge graphics, and, of course, the innovative and captivating story-telling that Valve is famous for.

        While I may not be heart-broken about this delay, it isn't the same as the delay for HL2. Why? Because I am not going to be getting a full game, but an episode, with 4-5 hours of play at the most. The whole reason Valve said they were moving to episodic content was so they could release games very regu
    • by BAILOPAN ( 694545 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @02:34PM (#17936902) Homepage
      I believe the term you're looking for is Valve Time [].
    • I did the same with my ATI Radeon 9800 Pro All-In-Wonder [] card (didn't have the HL2 freebie). When the game finally came out a year later, the game was still smooth. :)
  • Valve's been pulling this stunt for a long time but atleast they bring out their product eventually (or they shelve it for keeps) as opposed to Duke Nuke Forever.
  • If this is how episodic gaming is supposed to work this sucks. To me episodic gaming means a somewhat stable stream of content. Instead we have content, delay delay, content, delay ,delay.
    • by Nos. ( 179609 )
      While EP2 is included in this release, its not (IMHO) not what is really being anticipated her. People are waiting for TF2 and/or Portal.
  • The HL2 game was cool, until Steam got in the way and killed the game in the middle (unrecoverable). IMHO the Steam engine is a huge impediment to the game -- I will never buy another game running on the Steam engine. (Good graphics if you can run the dang thing.) Tech support was awful (just re-install -- yeah like I want to spend another 3 hours doing that!)
    • Steam is just a downloading platform. The engine is Source. And the only problem i had was with UbiSoft's Dark Messiah, even then it was Ubi's issue. Steam has run great for me. Granted i run Windoze for my gaming machine, I've not had issues with Steam or Valve's tech support.
    • First: Does it actually take 3 hours of your time to reinstall Steam? It only takes about 5 minutes of my time. The fact that it has to download games for 3 hours is pretty irrelevant -- don't you have other things you can be doing? Also: You can burn as many backup DVDs as you want of games you get through Steam, so a reinstall can actually be as fast as any other game -- and other games DO have similar issues where you must reinstall to fix it.

      Second: When was this? Oddly enough, I've never had a single p
  • I cry when I look at the state of PC gaming. Gone are the days when the "art" of creating a game and the passion developing it trumped timelines and budgets...
    That said, is there another reason we are seeing this delay? Specifically on the PC side... Direct X 10 is here, and as i've read Episode 2 will use it... perhaps they are waiting for a few million gamers to swap over to Vista in order to enjoy the better eye candy... Just a thought.

    • DX10 is coming to XP too, I thought.

      Valve is really blowing it. "Episodic content" to me, means a few months between episodes, not a few years.

      I played HL2 late, by the time I got around to it, ep 1 was out, and I was all into the story, so I played it. That was probably a year ago, and I've completely forgotten how episode 1 ended (i was on a train or something?)

      I wont have any interest left when episode 2 finally comes out. Plus, if it's competing for my dollars during the christmas season, I can sure
      • DX10 is coming to XP too, I thought.
        Not the last that I heard. If Valve is crossing their fingers and hoping for a worthwhile number of users to switch to Vista, they're aiming a howitzer at their collective foot.
      • DX10 is coming to XP too, I thought.

        No, DX10 cannot come to XP, as it relies on a totally different driver model. OTOH, it may one day be possible to get DX10 going on WinXP through WINE -- the wINE folks are working on it. (Although then, why bother with Windows?)

    • I might actually buy Vista in order to play Ep2, if it requires Dx10, or looks significantly better on it.

      However, I hope Valve realizes what they're doing here. This isn't like Halo 2 for the PC, where everyone who cares that deeply about it has already played the Xbox version, and they're already working on a new moneymaker (Halo 3). Most gamers aren't fanatic enough to buy Vista for that one game. I don't know about Valve's financial situation, but if Ep2 requires Dx10, it's possible Ep3 will never come
      • Without looking it back up, I'm fairly sure EP2 will not require DX10 (that's financial suicide), but will be coded to run it natively. Meaning EP2 will run on DX9.x on XP machines also. Two totally different engines, but both included for gameplay.
  • Speed of Light = 299 792 458 metres / second

    Speed of Sound = 340.29 metres / second

    Speed of Valve = 1-2 games / decade

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982