Thursday, September 6, 2012

Time, Doctor Freeman?

Seven days...

Just seven more days until Black Mesa is released. I can't believe this is actually happening! After all this time, after all the jokes and delays we're actually going to be able to play this mod. It seems so unreal, like a dream!

For those of you who don't know (I.E. Mother), Black Mesa is a modification for Half-Life 2 that aims to recreate the entire first game in the Source engine. This means massively improved visuals all around.

Try to imagine what it's like trying to recreate a whole game from the ground up, with all of your own assets, sounds, textures, models. It's not just any game either, it's Half-Life; considered one of the greatest first-person shooters ever. It's such a monumental project, especially when you consider that it's more or less just a group of friends doing it in their free time.

From the day they started to now, it's taken over eight years to make, longer than Half-Life 2's development. There's been plenty of delays during that time. They kept pushing the release date back further and further, until it seemed like it would never actually come out.

This is one of their earliest trailers. You'll notice it says the release date is 2009. Of course a lot has changed since then. The developers have been constantly working and reworking what they have and now that they actually feel like it's ready to be released is absolutely incredible. That trailer looks like something produced by a professional gaming company, better even. Yet the makers of this mod didn't think even that was good enough and spent three more years improving it even more. I can hardly image what it looks like now!

Of course I don't have to! Because after all this time, we'll finally get to play it. We just have to wait seven more long, agonizing days.

In all seriousness, I think this will have greater implications for the whole video game industry. Granted, I'm not a professional analyst by any means but it certainly makes one think. If modders can create something that good looking with little more than community interest and their own force of will, shouldn't we expect better from big name developers with millions of dollars invested in the creation of their games? If anything, this shows just how strong the Half-Life modding community really is. In spite of being such an old game, Half-Life 2 has so many great mods built around it; SMOD, Garry's Mod, Nightmare House, Minevra Metastasis, JBMod (Okay, maybe not JBMod), Dear Esther and now this, Black Mesa.

If Black Mesa is finally, actually coming out, who knows what else is possible?

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