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As Half-Life turns 20, Black Mesa unveils a reimagined Xen

Gee, man!

On this day, 20 years ago, Half-Life was released. Makes you feel old, doesn't it? It's because you are old, you wrinkler. November 19th, 1998 - what were you doing then?

Anyway forget that, there's a new Half-Life game in development. No not Half-Life 3, although if Half-Life were 30 years old I could have written "Half-Life 30 today", which for a moment reads as "Half-Life 3", which is really exciting, isn't it?

The new game - or part of a game, really - is Xen, the final piece and pièce de résistance of Half-Life remake Black Mesa. But Black Mesa's Xen is much more than a simple remake of Half-Life's Xen.

Black Mesa's Xen consists of almost entirely new and original content, and lasts six hours rather than about half-an-hour, as in Half-Life 1. It's gorgeous too - looking every bit a 2018 game rather than retro remake.

The new!Watch on YouTube
And the old.Watch on YouTube
And the old, part two. Gonarch, the boss headcrab alien thing, you can see in the Black Mesa trailer above.Watch on YouTube

But it's not quite done. "Our goal is to release Xen on Steam in Q2 2019," wrote developer Crowbar Collective in a Steam update post. "This will allow us to finish Xen to a place where the entire product is stable, smooth, and most importantly... fun!"

You don't have to wait for Xen in order to play Black Mesa - it's on Steam Early Access now, and has been for a few years. It's a project which has been around for yonks, and it occupies a fascinating position as a total remake of a Valve game which Valve said OK, you can sell it as a standalone game (even though it's our game you're effectively reselling).