When PC Zone revealed Half-Life 2 to the world in its June 2003 issue, it was as much a surprise to its provincial rival as it was to the magazine's readers. Securing the exclusive and keeping it a secret was, of course, a delicate operation, never before told - until now!
Masterminding the scoop of the century were PC Zone's then-editor Dave Woods, his “associate” and successor Jamie Sefton, and senior reviews editor Martin Korda (who became the first journalist in the world to play the greatest PC game sequel of all time). Entirely oblivious to the plans were host Richie Shoemaker and fellow freelancer Steve Hill - who at least has a vague memory of reviewing the original game to justify his inclusion in the Episode 3 line-up.
As well as the origins of Half-Life 2 and Steam, the team recalls an intense period of magazine rivalry, falling asleep in E3 meetings, and the perils of being a homeowner in a virtual online world.
PC Zone Issue 129 (June 2003) is available to read and download from archive.org.