After 15 Years, The Half-Life Remake Is Complete
I don't know what constitutes a Christmas miracle, but after 15 years of hard work from dedicated modders-turned-developers, the unofficial Half-Life remake, Black Mesa, is complete.
"We have pushed a major patch to the Xen levels and released the full game on Steam 'mainline'," the developers write in the announcement post for this news. "This means you can play a polished and tested version of all Black Mesa without having to switch into public-beta. If you have been holding out for Xen, this is what you have been waiting for!"
Black Mesa has had a long development history, in part because it was a fan project at first, with modders pouring in their own time when they had it available. They crept towards their goal, working around their jobs and social lives, to remake a game which a full team of full-time developers had spent years on themselves.
Originally started back in 2004, it took eight years to complete the first release of the game - a significant chunk of Half-Life that came to an end just before the Xen levels. In Half-Life, the bulk of the game takes place in the Black Mesa science facility, but the latter part of the game sees protagonist Gordon Freeman teleported to Xen, an alien world of floating planets and jump puzzles. This section, the Black Mesa team, would be significantly redesigned for the remake and would take time to release. Still, it's been delayed, too. It was due to come out in 2017, but has been delayed multiple times since then.
Despite you now being able to play all of the Half-Life remake through from start to finish, the team is going to continue its work on Black Mesa. "The game is still in Early Access, so that we can get even more data and bug reports from a wider set of players and machines," The team writes. "We will be watching people play the game and listening to how we can further improve the game for the next big update to take us out of Early Access. In addition to polishing the levels, we want to look at the game as a whole before switching out of Early Access."
The team has shared a road map of what it plans to work on going forward. This includes a full pass of the game's AI, multiplayer, and a search for bugs. Once it has completed those it will consider the game 1.0 complete.
After Black Mesa leaves early access, the team also plans to go back through and touch up the game so that the parts they developed all those years ago are "cohesive" with the rest of the game.
This has been an incredible project, one that's been going since the release of Half-Life 2 and the launch of Steam. To go from modding project to a full commercial game, that brings Half-Life up to scratch with Valve's other games is a genuinely impressive achievement. A true Christmas miracle.
Featured Image Credit: Crowbar Collective