Black Mesa, A Community-Created, Modernized Half-Life, Goes From Free To Early Access
Crowbar Collective, a third-party team of developers, is in the final stages of launching its long in-development update to Half-Life on Steam. Black Mesa was built on Valve’s Source engine and originally released for free in 2012. Now it’s on Early Access.
According to the Steam store page, 85 percent of the single-player campaign is complete, but Crowbar is hesitant to put a timeframe on the remainder of the work. Included in the Early Access version are deathmatch and team deathmatch multiplayer across six maps.
The final version will include more multiplayer maps and modes, the rest of the single-player campaign, and more polish. Early Access is priced at $19.99. Retail, when available, will carry a price tag of $24.99.
Crowbar is supporting Steam Workshop, so others can expand on the work. Black Mesa was originally approved as one of the first Steam Greenlight titles in November, 2013.
The timing on this is rather interesting given the furor over the short-lived paid mod experiment. While Black Mesa isn’t a mod per se, it was available to players at no cost since its initial release in 2012. It's following a similar trajectory as Day Z and The Stanley Parable.
I’m curious how the community will react to something that was once free now carrying a price. For more on the paid mod situation (and its aftermath), you can read my recent thoughts on the matter and why compensation for some community creators makes sense.