People say that when you’ve grown up and you revisit familiar haunts, they always seem smaller somehow – not so with the popular Half-Life remake, Black Mesa.
The ambitious fan-made project has always striven to improve upon the beloved original in every way, and the team at Crowbar Collective recently announced its intentions to completely overhaul Xen.
Xen, you’ll know, was the infamous endgame area of the original Half-Life, considered by many to be the only real weak point in the game.
It’s always been missing from Black Mesa, but the much maligned area will finally be making its way to the remake with a complete redesign.
Crowbar wrote on the official forums:
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. 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 their progress on the project, the team then shared the first ever screenshot of the new Xen, which you can see below.
Black Mesa debuted on Steam back in 2015 as an early access game, but Crowbar have explained the Xen area is taking so long because they intend to massively increase the size of the area.
I mean seriously, just check out the map comparison image the team shared a while back – it’s to scale, mind.
Right now there’s still no set release date for the Xen area, but Crowbar has revealed they’re working against a ‘tough deadline’.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.