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In 2003, a german hacker gained access to Valve's files, and grabbed several of them for his own use. Some other hacker took the files from the first guy, and then leaked them to the internet. Then, the original hacker leaked everything else, because he then stopped caring. This is an overly simplified version of the story, but it's how the 2003 version of HL2 made it onto the open web. The theft/leak/whatever included tons of cut content, ranging from slightly-different textures, to entire enemies, story sections, maps, sounds, and much more.

Additionally in 2005, Prima released a book titled "Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar", which explained several elements of the development of several games, including concept art, unused story elements, and renders of old content.

Resulting from this explosion of beta is a community that remains very active to this day, 14 (at the time of writing) years later. The funny thing is, even after all this time, there's still so much left to discover, to uncover. New beta is always slipping through the cracks, and it only gets more interesting. The beta party has only started, and you're invited.

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Topics of VCC

The Beta

The Community

Latest activity

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