Black Mesa is a fantastic and very long in the making remake of the first Half-Life, with the only problem with it being that it’s missing Gearbox’s excellent expansions. The good news is that modding team the HECU Collective are working on bringing Blue Shift to Black Mesa – and it’s just released Chapter 2.
Black Mesa: Blue Shift began development following the cancellation of a similar mod in 2015, and just received its first release in March this year – consisting of Blue Shift’s first chapter, which is basically just its tram-style intro. Chapter 2: Insecurity doesn’t add any combat but allows players to explore Black Mesa and meet several members of the cast, including appearances by the G-Man and Gordon Freeman himself.
Anyone interested can download the mod direct from ModDB or through Steam Workshop. It’s free, of course, although you’ll need a copy of Black Mesa first. Included in the update along with Chapter 2 is a load of fixes and improvements to Chapter 1: Living Quarters Outbound, including extending the intro’s ending by “a few minutes”.
The team has apparently kept most of the voices from the original game, although have redubbed a couple of key parts – most notably the larger guard Otis and the “totally
unimportant female scientist”. They do have a composer working on a new soundtrack, however, which they released a new track from too.
There are eight chapters in total in Half-Life: Blue Shift, so with chapters one and two completed in just a few months that means it should all be wrapped up by next year, correct? Perhaps, but while Blue Shift is undoubtedly a lot smaller than Half-Life or even fellow Gearbox expansion Opposing Force, the first two levels are basically interactive cutscenes – the real game starts with Chapter 3: Duty Calls.
Hopefully it won’t take as long as Black Mesa anyway, which lapped Duke Nukem Forever’s development time two years before it finally released.