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Black Mesa's original Xen campaign is getting a public beta in August

(Image credit: Crowbar Collective)
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Valve might have shelved Gordon Freeman and his sci-fi misadventures, but Black Mesa (opens in new tab) developer Crowbar Collective still has one more job for the mute physicist. The studio's Half-Life remake was released in 2015, but since then it's been working on an additional and original campaign that greatly expands Gordon's trip off-world, and you'll be able to play it soon. 

In the original Half-Life, we don't get to see much of the alien world of Xen, but Crowbar Collective has been changing that. The Xen campaign doesn't just make the Xen level full-length—it's closer to a full game, or at least a meaty expansion. Check out the trailer from last year:

You'll have five chapters to work through, and the first two will be entering public beta on August 1. Soon after the beta release of Xen and Gonarch's Lair, Crowbar Collective will launch the rest of the chapters, Interloper, Nihilanth and Endgame. There are no dates for them, but expect them weeks, not months, after the first two. 

That's the last step before launch. Once all the bugs have been squashed, Black Mesa: Xen will leave beta. You'll get access if you have Black Mesa, which is currently on sale (opens in new tab), and the betas will be available through the Steam Beta tab in the Properties menu. 

I'm increasingly less frustrated at the prospect of never being able to finish Half-Life officially. With developers working on fan projects to expand the original game and even bring Marc Laidlaw's vision for Half-Life 2: Episode 3 (opens in new tab) to life, there's still plenty of Half-Life left to play. 

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

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 or talking about his dog.