Black Mesa’s version of Xen is much larger than the original.
Xen has long been considered the weak point of the original Half-Life. Not coincidentally, it also happens to be the portion of Black Mesa–a fan remake of Half-Life–that we’ve been forced to wait for the longest. While the wait isn’t yet over, we have finally gotten a look at what developer Crowbar Collective has in mind for its redesigned Xen.
“The team remains, as always, hard at work on Xen! Currently our specific focus is on gameplay: crafting a fun and cohesive experience from start to finish,” reads a post on the official forums. “We want our version of Xen to feel like it really belongs with the rest of the game in terms of mechanics, cohesion, and progression. But we also want to push the boundaries and explore this unique and varied setting; to build an experience that feels both fresh and familiar to players from all walks of Half-Life veterancy. While our Xen is certainly going to be gorgeous, we are first and foremost really committed to making sure that the gameplay works on every level.”
To celebrate the upcoming holiday, the team also shared a screenshot of the work-in-progress Xen, marking the first time we’ve ever seen it. You can check it out above.
Back in October, Crowbar talked about why Xen was taking so long. In part, it’s due to the dramatic increase in size of the area, as evidenced by the map images seen here.
The wait for Black Mesa was an incredibly long one–it debuted on Steam in 2015 as an early access game, almost a decade after development started. It’s a project that morphed from a free game to a retail product on Steam (with Valve’s blessing), but Xen is the one area that’s been missing, both from the free and paid versions that have been released.
There’s still no date for when the Xen chapter will be released, though Crowbar has indicated it has an idea of when it’s coming. The forum post didn’t offer any specifics, only referring to a “tough deadline.”
“We will have more media for the community in the coming months, as well as more detailed updates as to how we are progressing. Right now we are up against a tough deadline, but we are committed and excited to work towards it and to finally unveil the definitive Black Mesa experience for everyone to enjoy.”