This Friday, after eight years of work, a team of amateur developers are set to release a fully updated free remake of the original Half-Life game. Often cited as one of the best games of all time, Half-Life was the first release of Valve Corporation and the series has become a cult phenomenon amongst PC gamers.
Half-Life is a first person shooter and follows the story of MIT theoretical physicist Gordon Freeman after a disastrous experiment unleashes alien life from another dimension. Armed with his iconic crowbar, the mute hero must brave headcrabs, leaking radioactive waste and the US Marine Corps to put things right.
Named “Black Mesa”, after the vast desert research laboratory in which the game is set, the game has been fully remade from the ground up using Valve’s Source engine. Source was originally designed for Half-Life 2, but has also been the basis of other more recent titles such as Left4Dead and Portal.
The game is set to be released on Valve’s popular digital distribution platform Steam, after successfully being voted through the new “Greenlight” system by gamers. Steam Greenlight allows developers to submit projects, at various stages of development, for users to vote on.
Black Mesa is one of the first ten games to receive enough votes to be released on Steam. How soon after the Friday release date the game will be available on Steam is unclear.
It will be available free to anyone who has a source engine game, a full list of which can be found here. The first release will be the bulk of the original game, but will be missing the final surreal “Xen” levels, which remain unfinished.
Many in the gaming community had written off the Black Mesa project as a lost cause after the development team infamously missed a 2009 release date that was tagged onto a youtube teaser trailer (see above). Little had been heard from the project since then, until it suddenly stepped up a new social media campaign this year.
The parallels between this development schedule and the notorious “Valve Time” have not escaped the notice of fans, but if this release is anything close to Valve quality, it will have been well worth the wait.