In what may be the most unexpected news all month, it looks like Black Mesa has finally received a concrete release date.
A fan project eight years in the making, Black Mesa is an expanded version of the original Half-Life built from scratch on Valve’s Source engine by a team of forty people. The mod promises to bring updated graphics, physics, effects and a slightly tweaked storyline. The project’s lengthy development has been covered in the past by a large number of gaming publications, and has even received a few nods and thumbs up from Valve itself.
Signs of Black Mesa’s imminent release began with a countdown that went up several days ago on the mod’s official site. A forum post shortly after, made by team lead Carlos Montero, explained the details of their release plans. The initial release of Black Mesa will be a shortened version of the game, stopping just before Gordon reaches the alien world of Xen, the original game’s final level. The team decided to release what they had ready rather than delay the game even further, and plans to release an expanded version of Xen, as well as a multiplayer deathmatch mode, in a future update.
While the fact that this release won’t be the entire game makes me frown a bit, the news that this mod is coming out at all is nothing short of astonishing. Development has gone on so long at this point that most seemed to assume the project was dead. The increased graphical quality might not be as impressive now as it was back in those early trailers, but any sort of face lift for the very dated looking original should leave many tempted to give it a playthrough.
We’re waiting for you Gordon…