Half-Life Re-Imagining Black Mesa Leaves Early Access Next Week

Half-Life Re-Imagining Black Mesa Leaves Early Access Next Week

Wake up, Mr. Freeman.

What started out as a mod is now, in a week, launching into a fully fledged release version. Black Mesa, a "re-imagining" of the original Half-Life, launches its 1.0 update on Thursday, March 5 on Steam.

Black Mesa started life as a fan-made mod, remaking the original Half-Life with modern graphics on the Source engine. Over time, it grew and even got permission from Valve to go commercial in 2013.

Adam Engels, project lead on Black Mesa at Crowbar Collective, wrote a blog post announcing the 1.0 launch date, while also going back over the 14 years he's spent working on Black Mesa. Despite going commercial, Engels says Black Mesa was still a volunteer project for the majority of his time working on it.

"Even after we got the green light to sell the game, we still did not make any money until late June of 2015," Engels writes.

While Black Mesa works to remain loyal to its source material, it does make a few changes. In a 2017 interview with PC Gamer, Engels discussed removing mechanics like crouch-jumping. "Crouch-jumping was cool back in 1998," he says. "But these days it feels overly complicated."

Black Mesa boasts new graphics and effects, updated enemies with "engaging" A.I., and an all-new soundtrack and voice acting. For Engels and the Black Mesa team, it seems like 1.0 has been a long time coming, but there will still be work to do after the launch.

"Black Mesa is a video game, it is our video game, and it has its strengths, and its flaws," Engels writes. "As Leonardo da Vinci said, 'Art is never finished, only abandoned' and while we plan to fully support this game after 1.0 with bug fixes and more, it will never be a perfect game."

So while Black Mesa will be complete in a 1.0 sense, Engels wants to acknowledge this launch version isn't perfect, and won't ever be. Still, it's exciting that after 14 years of development, through mod development and dedicated work, this team can finally see a 1.0 release on Steam, and right ahead of a new Half-Life game at that.

"I hope that everyone has something that inspires them as much as Half-Life inspired us," Engles writes. "I hope that everyone embraces the setbacks and challenges that come, and I hope no one fears the long road in front of them."

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Eric Van Allen

News Editor

Eric is a writer and Texan. He's a former contributor to sites including Compete, Polygon, Waypoint, and the Washington Post. He loves competitive games, live music, and travel.

In other news

Halo 3 Gets New Armor in the Master Chief Collection, But Many Aren't Happy About It

The new additions look out of place to many, but 343 says a toggle option is being explored.

NPD: PS5 Sets New US Console Launch Records While Switch Holds Strong

A strong debut for Sony hasn't stopped Switches from flying off shelves.

The Last of Us Part 2 Takes Home Top Prize at The Game Awards: Here Are All the Winners

Hades, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and Among Us did get some well-earned love too.

Perfect Dark Revival Unveiled at The Game Awards

Joanna's back in a new story conceived by The Initiative.

Need help?

Call of Duty Modern Warfare Weapons Tier List

Here's our guide compiling the Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2019 weapons list, including all weapon unlock levels, and more.

Borderlands 3 Shift Codes List (August 2020)

All the info you need on getting and redeeming SHiFT Codes in Borderlands 3, plus how to get Golden Keys to earn loot.

Destiny 2 Xenophage Quest - How to Get the New Xenophage Machine Gun

This is how to complete the Destiny 2 Xenophage quest, including all puzzles, and more.

Apex Legends Wattson - Abilities, Skins, How to Win With Wattson Apex Legends

This is our guide to Wattson in Apex Legends, featuring all her legendary skins, new abilities, tips, and more.