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Old 09-24-04, 07:11 PM   #1
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Default HL2 might be held back 6 more months!

Oh sh*t!!!! =/

http://www.gamespot.com/news/2004/09...s_6108100.html

Half-Life 2 held hostage?


Court filings show VU Games has the right to sit on finished Half-Life 2 code for up to six months. Could it be deja vu all over again?

As part of GameSpot's ongoing look into the two-year old copyright infringement case that pits business partners Valve Inc. and Vivendi Universal Games against each other in US District Court, additional documents uncovered this week reveal an interesting ace up VUG's sleeve.

In court filings dated August 27, 2004, VU Games' senior vice president and deputy general counsel Eric Roeder entered the following statement into the record.

"Valve has announced that it will deliver a release candidate version of Half-Life 2 (HL2) (a game required under the 2001 SPA) to Sierra/VUG within the next few weeks. If Valve delivers a release candidate version that complies with the contract and is a Final Milestone, then VUG will have six months to release the product under the 2001 SPA. Valve is pressing VUG to release the product early within that six month window, and its representatives have made a number of public statements without our consent or concurrence that the product will be published and released to the general public in September of this year."

The statement's implication is that VUG, angry with Valve's "public statements," could sit on Half-Life 2 for up to six months. But would VUG use this six-month window as leverage to force Valve to back down from demands contained in its original August 14, 2002 lawsuit?

Previously, VU Games found itself in the center of a similar conflict. At the end of September 2003, Interplay announced that it was terminating its distribution deal with VU Games, accusing the publisher of nonpayment of $3 million and failing to live up to the terms of its software publishing agreement for the console RPGs Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel and Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II.

Then, in October, Interplay announced Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel had gone gold. Interplay CEO Herve Caen went so far as to state that Interplay would distribute the two games itself, to make sure games were on retailer shelves for the all-important Holiday season. "[Retailers] already know the titles are coming out," Caen told the Orange County Register. "Profitability is contingent on the fourth quarter," Caen concluded.

Then, it was reported that VU Games was considering an injunction against Interplay to prevent it from distributing the games itself. While Brotherhood of Steel languished for in retail limbo, nary a peep was heard about the status of Dark Alliance II. Then, in November, the two announced they had suddenly resolved their issues. "We are pleased to have come to an understanding with Interplay and look forward to the upcoming launch of Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel," said Philip O'Neil, VUG's then-senior vice president of sales and marketing.

However, the "understanding" VU Games' and Interplay reached didn't include Caen's wishes to release Brotherhood of Steel and Dark Alliance II in the fourth quarter. As it turned out, both titles failed to appear on shelves until the following year: Fallout was eventually released on January 14, 2004, with Dark Alliance hitting retail the following week. Sales of Dark Alliance were lackluster, while Brotherhood of Steel was both a critical and commercial disappointment.

Could a similar scenario befall Half-Life 2? "Itís a game of chicken the way I see it," said one industry observer. "VUG could hold HL2 hostage for 6 months (or threaten to) if they want to force Valve to give in to demands. But Valve knows VUG needs the revenue."

According to the two companies' current software publishing agreement, Valve cannot release the game via Steam until the retail version is brought to market by VU Games. That point was confirmed by Valve director of Marketing Doug Lombardi who said, "Half-Life 2 will be made available to customers who purchase via Steam at the same time it is made available at retail."

When asked if VUG could be targeting a "late-cycle" release date for Half-Life 2, Lombardi said, "We've been asking, but Vivendi has refused to communicate an expected retail release date for Half-Life 2." Additionally, Lombardi clarified Valve's perspective when it came to the company's desire to get the game into the hands of gamers. "We delivered the first release candidate last week, and hope to deliver the final version very soon," Lombardi said. For its part, VU Games declined GameSpot's requests for comment.

In other developments in the Valve versus VUG lawsuit, the judge hearing the case in District Court pushed the cutoff date for the two sides to present relevant documents (Discovery) from October 8, 2004 to December 31, 2004.
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Old 09-24-04, 07:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: HL2 might be held back 6 more months!

I dont belive eahter side will purposly delay the game,

Why would they want to stop them self from makeing money?

If anything, they will make the money, then sue each other over it later!
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Old 09-24-04, 07:21 PM   #3
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Default Re: HL2 might be held back 6 more months!

commercially its difficult to see VU delaying the game any further given the market scenario as it exists and the likely hit in sales...
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Old 09-24-04, 07:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: HL2 might be held back 6 more months!

I could see it happening!
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Old 09-24-04, 07:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: HL2 might be held back 6 more months!

Well, we'll see if VUG is going to be a smart buisness oriented company and put their differences aside with valve, to make money on releasing HL2 this year for the holiday. Or we'll see if they shoot valve and themselves in the foot out of spite, hold the game back 6 months, and pretty much lose half the revenue they could make if it came out now.

6 months from now is March.

Stalker comes out in March, so either THQ will chicken out again and further delay stalker like they did this year, or they'll grow some balls, put it out there and see sales sky rocket and push HL2 to the side.

No one "in the know" is gonna pay for HL2 to play it if it's pushed back another 6 months. And if VUG does this, apparently they dont know how to run a company who's intent is on making money...steam takes some sales away...live with it...they delay it 6 more months and sales will be horrendous for both sides
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Old 09-24-04, 07:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: HL2 might be held back 6 more months!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sazar
commercially its difficult to see VU delaying the game any further given the market scenario as it exists and the likely hit in sales...

QFT
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Old 09-24-04, 07:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: HL2 might be held back 6 more months!

I read that article as well and I have to say that it's disappointing. I hope Half-life 2 isn't delayed. I say start a petition and e-mailing VUG. We may not have much of a voice shouting alone, but if you combine all of our voices, we can yell pretty loud.
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Old 09-24-04, 08:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: HL2 might be held back 6 more months!

grrr. argh. if that is true, i'll be really pissed, and when the game is finally released ..... i'll wait a day, at least, to buy it. fact is, they already have my money, and many others, regardless of when they release the game, since we all want it. now, a month from now, or 6 months, we'll all be buying the game. i just hope it's released sooner rather than later, as i am getting bored waiting.
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Old 09-24-04, 08:54 PM   #9
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Default Re: HL2 might be held back 6 more months!

It would be quite idiotic for Vivendi to intentionally delay the game, they stand to make the most money from it, after all. Still, Vivendi have been making some pretty idiotic decisions lately, I wouldn't put it past them delaying the finished game just to prove a point to Valve. However, if the game does get finished and Vivendi refuses to release it, it wouldn't suprise me if a "generous" person inside Valve leaked the game (this time on purpose, I mean )
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Old 09-24-04, 09:07 PM   #10
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Default Re: HL2 might be held back 6 more months!

Yes, but if it is released through Steam... they DON'T make money because with steam... a publisher is not needed... So I can see why they would delay the game.
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Old 09-24-04, 09:15 PM   #11
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Default Re: HL2 might be held back 6 more months!

I really hope that VUG pulls a DNF (did not finish) on Valve. Just imagine, whatever release candidate is sent to VUG, VUG says "not good enough" for years and years. That would really make my day.
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Old 09-24-04, 09:20 PM   #12
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Default Re: HL2 might be held back 6 more months!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Hunt
Yes, but if it is released through Steam... they DON'T make money because with steam... a publisher is not needed... So I can see why they would delay the game.
Valve can't legally release across Steam until Vivendi release to retail. If they do they'd be flagrantly breaching contract (at least as I understand it). It'd be one thing to use Steam against court orders when the game is actually released. It'd be another entirely to release before Vivendi is ready.
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