Half-Life 2 displays retail staying power

Valve's PC shooter overcomes development obstacles to become one of the most successful games of 2004, selling 1.7 million copies in just one-and-a-half months.

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Apparently dedicated gamers hold no grudges against oft-delayed games--just look at Half-Life 2. According to publisher Vivendi Universal Games, the first-person PC shooter has sold 1.7 million copies in just its first month and a half of release.

The sequel to the 1998 smash hit Half-Life sees gamers once again battling an alien invasion as crowbar-toting physicist Gordon Freeman. The first-person shooter has won widespread acclaim for its graphics, cinematic feel, and physics engine, and has also been updated with a deathmatch multiplayer mode. A mod of the original, Counter-Strike, became one of the most successful PC games in history, and Counter-Strike: Source, based on Half-Life 2's Source engine, is enjoying similar success. Counter-Strike: Source comes free with Half-Life 2.

The road to Half-Life 2's success was paved with several speed bumps. Though the game is considered to be one of 2004's biggest hits, it should have been one of 2003's best-sellers. In addition to the game being delayed for over a year--it was scheduled for a September 2003 release--some of Half-Life 2's source code was stolen and posted on the Web after Valve's network was hacked. The game was finally released on November 16, 2004, to rave reviews, but encountered a few problems authenticating accounts, leaving trigger-happy gamers with an unplayable game.

For more on GameSpot's Best Shooter of 2004, check out our previous coverage and full review.

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