This week on December 23rd Crowbar Collective finally released Black Mesa: Xen, a reimagining of the “Xen” chapters in the original Half-Life on Steam which previously was only accessible on an opt-in Beta. Crowbar Collective first released Black Mesa, a fan recreation of Valve’s Half-Life, into Early Access on Steam back in May 2015. Since then, Black Mesa has been well received on Steam, and the complete version of the game became open to the public as a Beta variant back on the 6th of December of this year. The Beta took players back through the 15 hours of the main game and its various multiplayer modes. Black Mesa received praise for updating Half-Life to feel comfortable for the player with modern mechanics and game-play formulas, though the Black Mesa team has taken great strides to stay true to form with the original work.
“If you have been holding out for ‘Xen’, this is what you have been waiting for,” said a developer on the release of the “Xen” chapters into Black Mesa’s Early Access. Crowbar Collective is also offering the game at a 20% discount.
With the latest patch, Black Mesa has received a re-imagined expansion taking players back through the Xen section of the Black Mesa facility. The next update is planned to take these “Black Mesa: Xen” chapters out of early access and touch up other portions of the game. Along with the launch out of Early Access, the Black Mesa developers are planning to add a multiplayer pass and two new AIs for aliens in-game to differentiate “Xen”content from the as of now unreleased patch “Earthbound.” The different AI packages for the aliens are designed to have completely different behavioural patterns between the two. This should create a unique feel between the NPCs when they interact. A release date for the “Earthbound” patch is currently unannounced but will add some fine touches and graphical tweaks on the final chapters. Finally, Black Mesa players will have access to the Steam Workshop allowing savvy gamers to create their own mods for a unique experience.
After finishing the main campaign of Black Mesa and the game modes, Crowbar Initiative plans on creating brand new levels and areas from scratch. Players can visit the new vision for the universe of Half-Life on Steam. Black Mesa is priced at $20 through the current discount, which ends on the 2nd of January, drops the price to $15. Half-Life is getting an official sequel in the VR game Half-Life Alyx, but Black Mesa offers a new game for non-VR players.