Black Mesa update brings Xen levels one step closer

Crowbar Collective moved another baby step towards the release of the long-awaited Xen portion of its Half-Life remake Black Mesa yesterday. A graphical update makes it look a whole lot fancier, with real-time dynamic lights, lens flares, god rays and more texture detail. 

It also brings the release version more in line with the developer's internal build and means that when Xen is ready it can be added as a "simple map drop, with less potential for engine and code issues affecting players on their first time playing Xen".

The team also updated fans on the progress of the Xen levels—in its current form that section of the game is made up of 14 maps across five chapters, "with each map alone being significantly larger than the originals". The team is still working up the gameplay for three of the five stages, and tweaking the art for the final two.

There's still no definite release date for the Xen levels: in June the team set December as a "do-or-die deadline", but that's now been pushed back (and, thankfully, nobody has died). "We are putting our full effort into completing Xen in a timely manner so that everyone can have the complete Black Mesa experience", it said in the latest update.

The update also fixes a host of bugs, changes the way that long jumping works (you now double tap space) and adds a new crossbow scope. Click here for the full patch notes, and scroll down for some new screens from the update.

If you want to know more about Black Mesa, here's Andy's interview with the project lead from last month. Oh, and the game is available at its biggest ever discount at the moment. It costs $4.99/£3.74 on Steam.

Samuel Horti

Samuel Horti is a long-time freelance writer for PC Gamer based in the UK, who loves RPGs and making long lists of games he'll never have time to play.