Released in 1998, the original Half-Life still holds a special place in the hearts of many gamers. While its sequel was a great game in its own right, the first game occupies the same hallowed ground as other revolutionary shooters Doom and Quake.
Black Mesa is a “re-imagining” of Half-Life, approved by its developer Valve Software. While Half-Life: Source, developed by Valve, has already ported that game to a newer engine, the game assets — the levels, models, and textures — remain the same. With Black Mesa, however, everything is being rebuilt from the ground up.
Initially released for free in 2012, Black Mesa is now available in Steam Early Access. The game is now approximately 85 percent complete, but developer Crowbar Collective says that completing the game will take “considerable time.”
“Making a game with the scope and scale of Black Mesa is a massive undertaking. Back in 2012 we made the decision to release what we had completed up to that point, and were blown away by the community’s response, feedback, and improvements to our work,” reads a message on the game’s Steam page. “We want to keep that relationship alive and well by using Early Access as a tool for allowing our community to participate in the final phase of Black Mesa’s development.”
Black Mesa not only recreates the original Half-Life with updated tech, but adds new voice acting, music, and choreographed animation. The game currently offers a 10-hour, single-player campaign as well as multiplayer deathmatch and team deathmatch modes. As this is an Early Access title, bugs are to be expected.
Black Mesa sells for $20 on Steam Early Access and is available now. Crowbar Collective says that the game’s price may rise after it comes out of Early Access, but also says that the price may remain the same.
For those interested in trying before they buy, the older free version of the game is still available on the Black Mesa website.