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Black Mesa: Xen is finally out, but it's still in Early Access

(Image credit: Crowbar Collective)

Crowbar Collective has put out a Black Mesa: Xen update today, as well as releasing the Half-Life remake's expansion on Steam, where it was previously only available on the public beta branch. Now you can access it normally and play through every level. Though still technically in Early Access, the full game is available. 

"If you have been holding out for Xen," says the developer, "this is what you have been waiting for." So it seems like it's treating this like a soft launch. And if you've not picked it up, it's also on sale for 20 percent off

Black Mesa: Xen is a greatly expanded reimagining of the terrible Xen section of the original Half-Life. After remaking Gordon Freeman's first adventure, Crowbar Collective set itself the ambitious task of making, essentially, entirely new Half-Life levels from scratch. The result seems to be a vast improvement over its predecessor. 

The next update will take Xen out of Early Access, so Crowbar Collective will be keeping an eye on things to see what needs polishing and fixing, as well adding achievements. It also plans to return to Earth, to Black Mesa, improving it using what the team has learned through Xen's development. 

Check out the patch notes for the latest update here.

Normally this is where I'd make some snarky remark about this being the closest thing we'll get to a new Half-Life, but that's no longer true now that Half-Life: Alyx is coming in March. If you're not into VR, though, then you'll need to stick with Xen for the time being.

Fraser Brown

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long. He thinks labradoodles are the best dogs but doesn't get to write about them much.