Valve has made good on its promise to distribute Half-Life 2 media via content delivery system Steam, and has released a 70MB, high-resolution version of the infamous G-Man, showing off his subtle facial animation for the camera. The close-up, available through Steam and also via FilePlanet, is part of the extensive E3 presentation which you doubtless will have seen by now. If not, we suggest you start downloading it.
Far from just a direct-feed high quality version of the same thing though, this Bink-based showcase is so sharp that you can see the aliasing around G-Man's jaw. As the man says, they've been "rather busy" in our absence. The video shows off plenty of G-Man's new facial expressions, from grins and smirks to frowns and grimaces, but it goes beyond that, with little nods and mannerisms in tune with his speech patterns and lips that elicit the right sort of movement from the rest of his face. The lip-synching is also nigh on perfect. He even blinks realistically. Overall, it's the most believable human face we've seen in a game, and demonstrates attention to detail that we can't wait to see borne out in the rest of the game world.
Reports on the Steam forums suggest that more videos - proper in-game recordings we hope - will shortly be released via Steam, whether it's tonight, later this week or just this month, but even if you're not a Counter-Strike fan, Valve seems keen for you to give the system a go.