There are few developers who can consistently ignite the imaginations of their fan base like Valve. Over the years, an almost inconceivable amount of time has been spent tweaking the games they have created, by players whose hearts and minds have been captured by legendary franchises such as Half-Life and Portal.
A few hugely popular Half-Life mods have already been taken in by Valve and turned into fully-featured, stand-alone games. Now, another fan-made modification is ready to make waves, taking players back to resonance cascade that started everything -- and doing it right.
Developed with the idea in mind that Half-Life: Source didn't quite live up to the hype, Black Mesa is a total conversion of Half-Life 2 that aims to put players back into the lab coat of everyone's favorite theoretical physicist, retelling the events of Half-Life with a completely updated look and feel. Says the official project website:
"Black Mesa was founded to fully reconstruct the Half-Life universe utilizing Source to its fullest potential in terms of art detail, level sizes and code features. It should be noted that the project is being built from the ground up and is not a simple port of Half Life maps and models into the Source Engine. The idea is to remake the storyline used in Half Life into a new polished Source Engine version with new models, maps, soundtrack, voice acting and textures."
Black Mesa began its journey in 2004, with a release goal of 2009 in mind for much of the development process. Once the team realized they wouldn't be able to make this deadline, however, they asked their community for patience and understanding while the project was carefully finished. Now, after a staggering 8 years of development time, the truly massive undertaking is ready to be unleashed on the world.
The first release of the mod will allow players to work through nearly all of the storyline, up to "Lambda Core" chapter. Carlos Montero, project leader for Black Mesa, recently assured the community that the remaining four chapters are under way:
“We are still working hard on Xen and BMDM, but instead of making you wait we are giving you Black Mesa as soon as it's ready ... we're doing our best to help bring the immense vision of this project into reality, and we are very excited for what the future brings!”
Ranters, are you as excited for this mod as we are? At the very least, it will give us all something to do while we anxiously wait for Half-Life 3 to hurry up and come out.. or at least make itself known.
The Black Mesa mod for Half-Life 2 is set to release next Friday, September 14th. It will be completely free, and readily available for anyone who already has the original game -- and let's be honest, who doesn't at this point?
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