November 19 marks the 25th anniversary of the original Half-Life, and to celebrate, Valve made a special announcement. No, Half-Life 3 was not announced. But Valve celebrated the anniversary with a massive update to the game on PC and a new documentary detailing its development. The best part: It’s all available for free.
Half-Life’s 25th-anniversary update incorporates the Half-Life: Uplink demo that Valve gave away as a CD via magazine and hardware manufacturer promotions in the 1990s and introduces many multiplayer maps. That includes four brand-new maps — Contamination, Pool Party, Disposal, and Rocket Frenzy — and three more maps that were previously only included in the Half-Life: Further Data CD release: Double Cross, Rust Mill, and Xen DM. It’s also now possible to play as a Space Biker, Prototype Barney, Skeleton, and Too Much Coffee Man and use dozens of Further Data sprays in Half-Life: Deathmatch.
This update also finally makes the original Half-Life verified to play on Steam Deck. In turn, that means that the game now has controller support by default, supports Steam networking and friend list features, and is playable in widescreen. For those who want a more nostalgic experience, Valve has brought back its original company intro video and the original main menu artwork with this update. There are even more smaller bug fixes and gameplay tweaks detailed on the official anniversary website. For those who want to learn more about the original game’s development, a documentary was also released today to celebrate.
The 25th anniversary update is free. So is Half-Life on Steam — until 10 a.m. PT on November 20. Valve also noted with this release that it’s “reducing the visibility of Half-Life: Source on the Steam Store” following this update and that players will have to find a publicly visible beta branch to play the pre-anniversary update version of Half-Life.
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