Valve Software head honcho Gabe Newell has revealed the developer's extensive plans for distributing Half-Life 2. There's still no word on a release date, but anybody buying the game via content delivery service Steam should be given advance access to the full Counter-Strike: Source package from next week onward to tide them over.
Newell revealed that there are two retail packages and three Steam packages planned. The vanilla retail package will include Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike: Source spread across six CDs, and will be available in three different box designs (Gordon, Alyx, and G-Men). The 'Collector's Edition', meanwhile, will feature HL2 and CS: Source along with Half-Life 1: Source (the original game rejigged in the new engine), a Half-Life 2 T-shirt and Prima strategy guide sampler, and will be distributed on one DVD.
The Steam packages, which should be available to pre-order very soon, come in Gold, Silver and Bronze flavours. The Bronze package is much as the vanilla retail - HL2 plus CS: Source - and the Silver features those two games along with Half-Life 1: Source and Day of Defeat: Source (another Valve title brought up to date in the Source engine), and the Valve back catalogue (Ricochet, HL Deathmatch, etc).
The Gold package, however, is arguably a bit more interesting even than the Collector's Edition DVD. Along with all the content from the Silver bundle, Valve will chuck you a Prima strategy guide, three Half-Life 2 posters, a hat, a postcard, stickers, and a soundtrack CD, plus you'll be thrown into the hat to win a trip to see Valve in Seattle - and the developer is promising one trip per 5,000 gold packages sold.
Expect pricing information and pre-order details to emerge in the next few days, and don't forget to turn on Steam overnight - Valve kicked off phase four of the pre-load earlier this week.