Half-Life turned 25 this past weekend. To celebrate this momentous occasion, Valve has updated the game by adding new and restored content. The game can also be claimed for free, alongside other Valve game discounts.
Crowbar-toting Gordon Freeman made his first debut on November 19, 1998. Can you believe it’s been 25 years? G-Man, however, has always existed, everywhere. In that time, there’s been at least two iterations of the game, including Half Life: Source and Black Mesa – a third-party mod released in 2012 that was so good Valve approved it for commercial release in 2020.
This latest version arrives with an updated website, detailed patch notes and remastered artwork. For one, the game is now verified on Steam Deck. It also comes with gamepad support and online play. Even more so, Valve has updated the graphics with HUD UI upscaling for modern screens. According to the studio “We built most of this stuff for 640×480 CRTs and apparently some of you have upgraded since then.”
There’s a bunch of new content, too. The update brings Half-Life Uplink to a modern audience. Previously, this mini campaign was only available via standalone disk or modded versions of the game. Released as a demo version for some popular publications at the time, like PC Gamer, and the June 2002 issue of the PlayStation Underground demo disk from the Official PlayStation Magazine.
Adding more value, Valve also introduces restored content to this version. Highlights include the return of the classic Valve logo with its iconic music and reskinned menu to match the 1998 build. There’s also three multiplayer maps and two multiplayer skins from a CD called Half-Life: Further Data. This was previously exclusively available via partnered retail stores in 1999.
Lest I forget, Ivan the Space Biker and Proto-Barney, the original unsung heroes from the alpha builds, are now available as multiplayer skins. My life is now complete.
As icing on cake, Valve collaborated with Secret Tape to produce a feature-length documentary with interviews from the original HL1 dev team. While you’re at it, don’t forget to add the game to your Steam library. Did I mention it’s free?