The Black Mesa project began around 2005 and started as a small project between a couple of modding groups. In 2006 the 13-person group eventually became the Crowbar Collective and started rebuilding one of the most popular games. This week, their project was finally finished. With Valve’s permission, they were able to release an Early Access title on Steam weeks before Half-Life: Alyx. With a new virtual reality release, Valve was able to promote their franchise’s name with Half-Life: Black Mesa.
“If … in 2006 someone said to me ‘This will be difficult. You will consider quitting multiple times, and it is going to take you at least 14 years to complete,'” Adam Engels, the Black Mesa project lead wrote in a blog post about today’s release. “I am not sure I would have signed up for that.”
Black Mesa reveals itself to be a polished, engaging, and beautiful mod. According to fans, it feels like a remake of the original game title. Running on the newest available version of the Source Engine, Black Mesa has made a number of tweaks and changes to the original Half-Life formula and the locations you visit. Some puzzles of the mod are physics-based, along with some of the enemy AI’s are much smarter and sharper.
For Black Mesa, Crowbar Collective took their development to the next step by completely redoing the entire game. The section that encompasses Black Mesa, the final third of the game, is an entirely original design done by the team. That being said, Crowbar is not quite done with Black Mesa just yet. In an earlier Steam post, the developer revealed plans for a post-launch “Definitive Edition” update that will include additional gameplay improvements, as well as community events to help share what they know about developing with Valve’s Source engine with other fan developers.