Half-Life 2 (not) gold Monday?

[UPDATE] Valve impostor drops a golden bomb on the Half-Life 2 Fallout forums; stalwart site operators get to the bottom of the hoax.

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The long, dramatic saga of Half-Life 2's development cycle may finally be coming to a close. Earlier this evening, Gabe Newell, the head of Valve Software, left a short but sweet post on the HL2Fallout.com forums, simply stating, "We're going gold Monday..."

Earlier this week, Valve began preloading the highly anticipated game through the company's Steam service. The only files that were uploaded were "set in stone" items, such as audio and textures. But if the game is indeed going gold as of this Monday, it could mean that a full, purchasable version of Half-Life 2 could be available practically as early as next week.

[UPDATE]: Gamers who went to bed Friday night with visions of crowbars dancing in their heads awoke to a rude surprise Saturday morning when Half-Life 2 Fallout posted the following news bit:

"After a close scrutiny of Gabe Newell's account history on the forums, we've come to the conclusion that the gold post is a fake... After one crazy night of theories, server mayhem, and IP tracing, we've finally gotten to the bottom of this mess. In a twist of hilarity, it seems that Gabe Newell's account password was set to 'gaben.' Person x guessed this and made the "going gold on Monday" post, which we've heard so much about. The user (who we believe is the same person x) then made this post just minutes ago using Gabe's account:

Maybe he shouldn't have used 'gaben' for his password. Come on Gabe, you could of [sic] thought of something better than that.

After a quick double-check, it seems that this was exactly what happened."

It seems that gamers eager to experience Gordon Freeman's latest adventure will have to wait a bit longer after all. GameSpot will bring you more on the imminent release of Half-Life 2 as it becomes available, and in the meantime, you can catch up on all the latest Half-Life 2 happenings with our previous news coverage of the game.

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