Valve readying Half-Life 2 bundles; Counter-Strike: Source available next week

Regular and Collector's Editions to be available at retail; Gold, Silver, and Bronze packages to be pumped via Steam.

Once again, the press-release-adverse Gabe Newell has used to reveal new details about Half-Life 2. In a posting to the site, Newell revealed that there will be no less than five different Half-Life 2 packages. Two will be the retail versions: a standard edition that will contain the game on six CDs, as well as its multiplayer version, Counter-Strike: Source. The standard edition will also have three different characters--hero Gordon Freeman, heroine Alyx, and the sinister G-man--on different versions of the box.

The second retail version, the Collector's Edition, will come with Half-Life 2, Counter-Strike: Source, and Half-Life 1: Source, a remake of the original game with Valve's new engine. The Collector's Edition will also be on a single DVD and be bundled with a Half-Life 2 T-shirt and a Prima strategy-guide sampler.

The other three Half-Life 2 packages will be available directly from Valve via its Steam download service. The "Bronze" package will include Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike: Source. The "Silver" bundle will get purchasers Half-Life 2, Counter-Strike: Source, Half-Life 1: Source, Day of Defeat: Source (another classic-game remake), and "Valve's back catalog currently available on Steam."

The "Gold" package offers even more features. It will get you Half-Life 2, Counter-Strike: Source, Half-Life 1: Source, Day of Defeat: Source, Valve's back catalog on Steam, a complete Prima strategy guide, three different Half-Life 2 posters, a Half-Life 2 hat, a Half-Life 2 postcard, Half-Life 2 stickers, and a Half-Life 2 soundtrack CD. One out of every 5,000 "Gold"-package purchasers will also win a trip to Valve's studios.

However, with the release date of Half-Life 2 still in limbo, Valve is offering a big incentive with its Steam packages, which will go on sale next week. "Those who purchase via Steam will receive the final version of Counter-Strike: Source immediately," read Newell's posting. This means that while the single-player campaign of Half-Life 2 might not be available for months, the full multiplayer component (which has been available in beta form) will be sparking LAN battles next week.

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