Almost eight years ago, Valve released an updated version of its first game, Half-Life, to run on their brand new Source engine. While the water shaders and lighting effects were updated thanks to the brand new engine, almost all of the original Half-Life’s assets remained unchanged; textures were still basic, character modeling was simple, and the 1998 voice actors were still present. This aspect left fans full of disappointment, so much that two groups of modders began working on recreating and rebuilding the entirety of the original Half-Life in the Source Engine. These two groups later teamed up and pooled their resources to create Black Mesa: Source, one of the most ambitious fan mods to ever be in production.
The problem is that is where the mod has been for the past seven-and-a-half years; in production. Besides some developers on the team discussing the project in very small snippets and the excellent trailer released in 2008, the general public has been kept in the dark about the mod for quite a long time. However, after a controversial Facebook campaign in order to get 20 thousand Likes, the world finally has more media from the mod to rest their eyes upon.
Within this article are eight new screenshots from the current development build of the Black Mesa mod. As mentioned before, these screenshots were the results of a Facebook campaign; the Black Mesa development team stated that they would be releasing new media from the game if they got 20 thousand Likes on the mods official Facebook page. While some fans became angry over this tactic, the amount of Likes eventually reached the 20-thousand mark and the screenshots were released. And boy are the screenshots lookers; their crispness and quality models really show that the Source engine can still produce good-looking games. If you are keen, you might realize some of the original Half-Life chapters that the scenes in the images are attempting to recreate. All of these images were taken within the Source engine; no concept art or CGI were used to create them, further adding to the great visual fidelity of the mod. If you are extremely observant, you might notice that a mysterious figure is present in one of the screenshots.
Digging a bit deeper, this batch of screenshots is the first step in Black Mesas media campaign, which plans to release new media of the mod until it is finally available for download. Before everyone gets excited at the possibility of actually playing the mod, it needs to be noted that in a recent interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, project lead Carlos Montero stated that while the rumors of the mod team withholding the project from release due to quality control are partially true, there are still parts of the mod that have yet to be created. However, assuming that the media releases cannot go on forever, it is acceptable to estimate that the mod will be released within 1-2 years of this first media unveiling. When the mod finally releases, it is expected to be available for free through the Black Mesa: Source website.
I'm surprised to see that this project is still being worked on, I thought after all this time it would be permanently shelved. Those screenshots are stunning! It makes me want to play through the original Half-Life again and refresh on all the stages before this mod is released. I'm betting Black Mesa: Source will be released before Half-Life 2: Episode 3.