Half-Life 2: Classic demakes Valve’s genre-defining shooter, dragging it back to the 90s

Half-Life 2: Classic

While we were distracted by everyone and their dog creating their own Half-Life 3 from abandoned concept fragments, a slightly unhinged 5-man crew decided that we needed to look to the past for inspiration. Two months of hard work later, and we’ve got the first chapter of Half-Life 2: Classic. Now you can experience what Half-Life 2 would have been like if they’d released it in the 90s.

Half-Life 2 got the ball rolling. Now we’re drowning in amazing first person shooters.

One of the great things about modding is that you can often answer ‘Why?’ with ‘Why not?’. Despite serving no real practical end, there’s something inherently cool about the time and effort involved in a team of 2017 modders picking apart a 2004 game and porting it to a 1998 engine. There have even been attempts to demake Half-Life 2 in the past, but the mod team are proud that they’re the first to release a sizeable chunk of playable product.

The Half-Life series has had an interesting history with demakes in general. Valve officially endorsed (and since sadly expunged from Steam for convoluted reasons) Codename: Gordon, a 2d reimagining of Half-Life 2’s combat and setpiece style, and owners of the classic Doom can enjoy Paranoid, a very extensive Half-Life 1 demake mod. It should go without saying that Black Mesa, an officially endorsed project to remake the original Half-Life in the second game’s engine was influential on the decision to reverse the process here, too.

There is some debate among the Half-Life 2: Classic team as to how old-school they should keep the mod. A complete demake down to the visual standards of the original Half-Life, or something more on par with the official HD resource packs released by Valve for the original game. Either way, the project is continuing..After seeing the slightly-too-stiff Combine soldiers reimagined here, I can’t wait to see how they handle Striders.

You can download the first Alpha build of Half-Life 2: Classic from ModDB here, and will presumably require the original Half-Life in order to play.