Black Mesa, developer Crowbar Collective's Valve-sanctioned Half-Life 1 remake, will finally launch on Steam next Thursday, 5th March, after five years in early access.
As it happens, Black Mesa has been around much, much longer than its 2015 early access release might suggest. The project originally began in 2004, as an attempt by fans to recreate 1998's Half-Life 1 in Valve's then-new Source engine.
An early iteration of Black Mesa eventually released as a free download in 2012, and then, having received permission from Valve to launch the project commercially, Crowbar ushered an impressive, but incomplete version of the game - which included multiplayer and a ten-hour chunk of the story campaign - into Steam Early Access in 2015.
Since then, the bulk of Crowbar's efforts have been dedicated to working on Black Mesa's substantially reimagined version of Half-Life's widely derided Xen stages, turning the original's half-hour tour of an alien world into a several-hours-long sequence.
Despite numerous setback and delays in the intervening years, those ambitious Xen stages are now complete and Black Mesa's Version 1.0 update will arrive next month.
Announcing its long-awaited release date in a post on Steam, Crowbar's Adam Engels wrote, "Through luck, hard work, and maybe a bit of ignorance we didn't shy away from our goal of bringing this game to completion. We are proud of what we built. We think this upcoming 1.0 release is the best, most polished, and most fun version of the game yet".
"I hope that everyone has something that inspires them as much as Half-Life inspired us," Engels continued, "I hope that everyone embraces the setbacks and challenges that come, and I hope no one fears the long road in front of them."
Black Mesa will cost £14.99/$19.99 USD when its version 1.0 release arrives on Steam next Thursday, 5th March, some 16 years after the project's inception.