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Counter-Strike : Condition Zero

Rumours fly about new Counter-Strike game

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Rumours have been spreading for some time now that Rogue Software (the company behind American McGee's Alice and official mission packs for both Quake and Quake 2) was working on a follow-up to the wildly popular team-based Half-Life mod Counter-Strike. Then yesterday came news that the game had been cancelled by Valve following the recent departure of Rogue's co-founder and president, Jim Molinets. Rogue CEO Barrett Alexander confirmed the reports, telling news site Voodoo Extreme that "I think they made a bad decision". The company is now in crisis, having had a PlayStation 2 port of Alice pulled out from under them by a cost-cutting Electronic Arts just a few months earlier...

But Counter-Strike : Condition Zero goes on. American games magazine Computer Gaming World sent out a scan of the front cover of their July issue to numerous news sites around the web last night, revealing that they will have an exclusive feature on the game, and that it is now apparently being developed in-house by Valve. Meanwhile Evil Avatar has posted five screenshots from Rogue's work on the game, which (according to a messageboard post from one of the designers at Rogue) represent just two days work - all they had before Valve suddenly took the project back in-house.

And things get even more bizarre; the game is quite clearly using the three year old Half-Life engine. We had assumed that any follow-up to Counter-Strike would use either the Quake 3 engine (which Rogue are familiar with from Alice) or the next generation engine which Valve have presumably been working on for the long overdue Team Fortress, but apparently they are instead going to continue milking their dated classic with what amounts to yet another add-on. Half-Life has already been re-released in at least half a dozen different bundles, a mission pack and two stand-alone games based on it have been published, and another add-on pack (Blue Shift) is currently in the works.

In fact, quite what Valve have been doing for the last three years is something of a mystery, because all of these Half-Life spin-offs were developed by third parties such as Rewolf and Gearbox. Team Fortress 2 has been in hiding since ECTS 1999, and there is still no sign of the long-awaited Half-Life sequel either. And now Valve are apparently working on a new Counter-Strike title using the same tired old Half-Life engine, which will further delay the arrival of these two games, assuming that either of them are even in development. No doubt we will find out more soon, possibly at the E3 trade show this weekend, but right now we're a little baffled...

Source - Voodoo Extreme / Evil Avatar

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