“Xen will be a complete game in its own right,” claims Black Mesa Source developer


Black Mesa Source is out very soon. Next week in fact, September 14, which is the first time an exact release date has been given for the perpetually delayed mod, a total-conversion of the original Half-Life into the Source Engine. This time, perhaps more than any other time before it, it looks like the thing might actually come out – though it will be missing its Xen portion, a whole new chapter of the mod that Black Mesa Source’s lead developer claims will basically be a complete game in its own right.

Black Mesa Source has had many launch windows in the eight years since it was announced back in 2004, which lends the latest deadline a sort of hazy Nostradamus-esque implausibility, but the team’s being candid about Black Mesa Source’s partially incomplete state. The mod will feature content as far as the Lambda Core, meaning the Xen borderworld will be absent from this version. That’s still at least eight hours of content to be getting on with. “Development on Xen is already underway and we hope to have it finished up in a reasonable timeframe,” elaborated the mod’s lead designer. “Xen is going to basically be a complete game in its own right, it’s not going to be just an epilogue to the game; more of a whole new chapter. It’ll be pretty well expanded.”

This was a project that not even Valve had the patience to undertake, not a simple port between engines, as seen in Half-Life: Source, but a remake from scratch using new models, animations, maps and voice acting. In fact, the team took the mod back into development after criticism of the voice acting in the leaked footage below, which shows the sort of dedication to quality that’s kept Black Mesa Source in development for so long.

The soundtrack is currently available to download. Here are some comparison shots to remind you precisely how crappy Half-Life looks these days.

It’s probably worth re-iterating here thatBlack Mesa Source is free.