Time seems to fly right on by sometimes, especially when reminiscing about classic video games that don't seem all that far in the rear view mirror. So it goes with Half-Life. Developed by Valve, it's now been two decades since publisher Sierra Studios released the game for PC (it was later ported to the PlayStation 2, OS X, and Linux). To celebrate the occasion, the Black Mesa modding team has released a Xen gameplay trailer for its Half-Life remake.
While many people have fond memories of playing Half-Life when it came out 20 years ago, Xen is widely regarded as the worst level in the game. Nevertheless, it's being remade as a standalone campaign by Black Mesa.
"Our goal is to release Xen on Steam in Q2 2019. This will allow us to finish Xen to a place where the entire product is stable, smooth, and most importantly...fun! We are already happy with the design state of Xen as it stands currently: almost everything is design locked and functioning as intended. We are going to be using the remaining time between now and launch to bring it up to our art and polish standards," Black Mesa states.
The standalone campaign promises "roughly six hours" of play, and longer for those who like to explore. In addition, Black Mesa says this isn't a simple remake of Xen, thankfully—the levels and design are largely original work, with cues taken from Half-Life.
"We are extremely proud of what we have created, and will be showing off some of our deep graphics and NPC changes later in December, as well as a breakdown of where each of the chapters stand," Black Mesa says.
Black Mesa is probably wise to deviate from a straight-up remake of Xen, and instead create their own vision of what the level should have been, complete with updated graphics. While some fans might be disappointed by that decision, we suspect it will be for the better when it ships.
The modding team hopes to release Xen on Steam in the second quarter of 2019.