The Hacker Who Stole Half-Life 2 Is 'Very Sorry'

In 2003, Axel Gembe got his hands on the game everybody wanted, Valve's Half-Life 2. He hacked into the developer's network and swiped the game's source code—which eventually wound up on the internet. These days, Gembe says he's "very sorry" about that.

The German hacker's actions were in-part responsible for the highly anticipated Half-Life sequel's very long delay, a crime which he eventually paid for in the form of probation. (Had Valve's plan to fly Gembe to the U.S. panned out, the hacker's fate may have been very different.) In a new interview with Eurogamer, Gembe wants Valve, his "favorite developer," to know that he regrets what the 20-year-old version of himself did.

(That includes writing the Agobot computer worm and being indicted by the FBI for denial of service attacks against a pair of U.S.-based business in 2003.)

"I am so very sorry for what I did to you," Gembe said. "I never intended to cause you harm. If I could undo it, I would. It still makes me sad thinking about it. I would have loved to just stay and watch you do your thing, but in the end I screwed it up. You are my favorite developer, and I will always buy your games."

Eurogamer offers a retelling of Gembe's attack on Valve from his own perspective, the fallout of the release of Half-Life 2's code, and the hacker's failed attempt to score a job at the developer.

Valve declined to comment for this story.

The Boy Who Stole Half-Life 2 Article [Eurogamer]