2020 is turning out to be a hell of a year for the Half-Life modding scene. Not only are we days away from the launch of Half-Life: Alyx, which Valve says it'll release a level editor for, but we're also mere weeks out from the 1.0 release of Black Mesa, a Half-Life remake mod-turned-commercial release. This week marks another Half-Life 2 mod milestone: the team for Jurassic Life, a single player Jurassic Park experience that's been in the works since the mid-2000s, says their mod is now a full start-to-finish experience.
Unfortunately, you can't download Jurassic Life quite yet, but this is surely a good sign that a 2020 release is in the cards. Team Butane, the folks behind the mod, have cut together a new trailer for Jurassic Life that shows off its impressive recreation of Isla Nublar, as depicted in Steven Spielberg's original 1993 film. That towering entry gate, the visitor center, and even the dated InGen computer interfaces have all been rendered with incredible attention to detail. Oh, and the dinosaurs look pretty wily, too.
In Jurassic Life you'll be playing as Robert Muldoon, the game warden who dies a memorable death in the movie but managed to escape the park in Michael Crichton's original novel. Perhaps players will be able to determine Muldoon's fate in the canon of Jurassic Life (or, if it follows the movie to the letter, we already have a very good idea of how the story ends).
The Source engine, though a bit long in the tooth at this point, should make Jurassic Life an interesting contrast to 1998's licensed Jurassic Park FPS, Trespasser. Released a few weeks before the original Half-Life, Trespasser had a cutting edge physics simulation system that was, unfortunately, poorly implemented and surrounded by an otherwise underwhelming shooter. Trespasser failed commercially, but years after the release of Half-Life 2, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell credited Trespasser with breaking ground in physics gameplay that Half-Life 2 later improved upon.
Team Butane says it plans on releasing Jurassic Life later this year, but notes that it could use the help of C++ coders and modelers for the mod's NPCs. If you're hungry from some Source engine-powered action right now, there's always Crowbar Collective's Black Mesa (which has been in development for about as long as Jurassic Life) as well as hundreds of other totally free mods. Additionally, Valve's own Half-Life games are all still free until Monday.
Thanks, PC Gamer.