For a remake of a 1998 game built on a heavily modified 2007 engine, Crowbar Collective's Black Mesa is still a really detailed and impressive remake of the original Half-Life. Although Black Mesa was finally launched in 1.0 back in March after a 15-year development cycle, it's not done yet: right now, folks who own the remake can preview an even better version.
Released yesterday in beta, Black Mesa's Definitive Edition (version 1.5) makes a boatload of changes throughout the remade Half-Life campaign. With the extradimensional Xen chapters having been completed last, the earlier parts of the campaign set in the titular research facility didn't take full advantage of the team's talent and new technology when 1.0 shipped. Now, the beta introduces changes to just about every one of those levels.
Some notorious chapters that could've used a bit more love in the original, like Power Up and On A Rail, have received even more attention in the Definitive Edition. For instance, the entire Black Mesa satellite rocket silo has been redesigned in the new beta. Other changes players will notice include new health and HEV battery supply crates scattered throughout the game and heavier emphasis on Crowbar Collective's dynamic lighting tech.
Back in March at PAX East 2020, project lead Adam Engels told USgamer that the Crowbar Collective team would be happy to keep working on Black Mesa provided that the 1.0 release did well—and, judging by the looks of the Definitive Edition, it seems it has. "If the game goes completely gangbusters, we'd love to keep supporting it and keep building new features," Engels said. "We don't want to promise anything and disappoint people, but we would love to do more."
Engels also teased that Crowbar Collective is looking forward to its next project after Black Mesa is done (or mostly done). He says it'll probably be an FPS and that Crowbar is planning to move away from Valve's Source engine. If the Definitive Edition's final release ends up being the last bit of Gordon Freeman-related work from Crowbar Collective, at least it seems like Valve is genuinely excited about making more Half-Life after releasing Alyx for VR.