19 years is a long time to wait to find out what really happens when a Barnacle gets blasted by a shotgun or when a Headcrab takes a crowbar to the face, but Half-Life fans in Germany will finally be able to experience first-hand what it feels like to play the iconic shooter in its full, uncensored glory.
After nearly two decades of heavy censorship, Half-Life's entry in the list of censored games in Germany has been "prematurely" removed according to German reports, meaning that it is now possible for the publisher to release uncensored versions of the shooter in the country. For those who are unaware, Germany has been well known for placing strict limitations on video game content for quite some time now. In regards to Half-Life, the changes made for the German version of the game have been notable within the community, such as human enemies being replaced by oddly-shaped robot soldiers, Barnacles inexplicably releasing a shower of screws upon being killed, and friendly NPCs sitting down on the floor with a disappointed look on their face upon being shot.
German fans had previously found ways to circumvent this measure in a variety ways, such as purchasing retail versions of Half-Life from other regions around the world, but it's nice to know that fans will no longer have to jump through as series of hoops in order to get the full Half-Life experience.
Of course, Half-Life is far from the first game to be restricted in Germany, with other notable titles such as Call of Duty: Black Ops and Fallout 3 previously being banned in the country, but this case is perhaps more notable given the long period of time between the game's initial release and when the ban was finally lifted.
As for the future of the franchise, this may be the only notable Half-Life release of any kind for the foreseeable future. Fans have been waiting for a decade for a conclusion to Half-Life 2: Episode Two's cliffhanger, and despite the various rumors that have surfaced over the years, there is an increasing possibility that the long-awaited Half-Life 3 will likely never hit the shelves.
While Half-Life 3 may never see the light of day, at least German Half-Life fans will have finally have the opportunity to play the series' iconic first title as it was originally intended.
Half-Life is now available for PC and PlayStation 2.