A beautifully rendered iconic monorail ride. A familiar voice telling Doctor Freeman that the computers are down. The sinister G-Man stares at the viewer while voices freak out about shutting down an experiment gone wrong. After some sequences of revitalised gameplay, the trailer ends with a URL and the year ‘2009’.
This was a Christmas gift first look at the long-in-development Black Mesa: Source and, as many of you are probably well aware, 2009 came, went, and didn’t reward patient Half-Life fans with the Source-rendered revisit to Black Mesa. Now, more than three years later and not a whole lot has changed in regards to a definitive release date for the mod that I’ve been following loosely for the last few years.
In fact, it wasn’t so long ago that I was checking out their website to see if the mod was still in development, and there wasn’t much hope to be found there given that not a lot had changed since I’d visited the website six months prior. The good news is that the Rock, Paper, Shotgun has sat down with project lead Carlos Montero and talked about the state of the mod. Carlos made these promises for Black Mesa: Source.
“First off – Black Mesa is a not a port. It is literally illegal for us to port anything. Black Mesa is mostly made from scratch, excepting a few assets from the SDK. Pretty much every sound effect, every texture, every voice-over – all of it. We didn’t have the luxury of porting a single thing from HL1. Not AI, not level design, none of it. So let’s talk about some of Black Mesa’s big bullet-point features:
- Play for free. You need not own anything!
- Feast your eyes on over 2,000 custom Models and 5,000 custom textures – more than HL2.
- Experience over 2,000 choreographed scenes and over 6,500 lines of dialogue from all new voice acting.
- Immerse yourself in an all new soundtrack and over 2,300 custom sound effects.
- Feel the impact of custom systems such as the Face Creation System, Custom Gib System, Deathcam and more.
These features are just the tip of the iceberg, really. We’ve put a lot of love into making this game an amazing experience. When it comes to systems, levels, and weapons, we’ve touched everything, because we made it all from scratch. We tried to keep what we felt was evocative of the original Half-life, but when recreating these things we have inherently re-designed them. The combat, the puzzles, the mechanics and pacing of every level have been re-designed. The weapon strengths, animations, balance aspects – all re-designed. The systems, aside from being completely coded from scratch, have all been re-designed to some degree. There is nothing we haven’t touched, honestly.”
While that’s encouraging, when can we expect to see it, Carlos? “We’re working very hard to get something out to our fans in the soon-ish timeframe. I really won’t say anything more than that.” Drat. It’s well worth checking out the rest of the interview, which makes for some fascinating reading.
For those who can’t wait for an undetermined time to play Black Mesa: Source, DSOGaming is reporting that a 700MB HD mod for the original Half-Life has been recently released and is ready for download (with links and steps to install the mod listed on the website).