For the 25th anniversary of the iconic Half-Life, developer/publisher Valve has released a documentary celebrating the monumental first-person shooter. In addition, the studio has released an update to the original “featuring quality of life fixes, restored content, and new multiplayer maps.”
The documentary, released via Valve’s official YouTube channel, is over an hour in length and covers the studio’s earliest days, the process of creating Half-Life’s opening levels, and other avenues of production like weapon, sound, and level design. Perhaps more notably the documentary reunites the team who worked on Half-Life, including co-founders Mike Harrington and Gabe Newell.
It’s probably no surprise to anyone, but the documentary was directed and edited by Danny O’Dwyer, of the noclip YouTube channel, who made other Half-Life documentaries in the past, such as Unforeseen Consequences: A Half-Life Documentary and Black Mesa: The 16 Year Project to Remake Half-Life.
In terms of the 25th anniversary update to the original Half-Life, it includes Half-Life Uplink, which was “originally released as a CD exclusive for magazines and hardware manufacturers,” according to the official website’s description, and encompasses an additional “mini-campaign.” It also includes four new multiplayer maps, including Contamination, Pool Party, Disposal, and Rocket Frenzy.
The update also brings Half-Life into the 21st century with support for widescreen monitors, an option to disable texture smoothing, lighting fixes, and software rendering for Linux users. It now supports a “proper gamepad config,” and Steam Networking, in addition to being officially Steam Deck verified. The development team has also reworked the game to scale higher resolutions.
Then there’s a whole slew of restored content, including the original Valve splash screen, the menu found in the 1998 version of Half-Life, as well as Ivan the Space Biker and Proto-Barney as multiplayer skins. And if you thought that was all, you’d be sorely mistaken. The update adds content previously found in 1999’s Half-Life: Further Data, including the Double Cross, Rust Mill, and Xen DM multiplayer maps, and a couple more player models for the multiplayer mode.
It’s a good day for fans of the original Half-Life, and it’d make sense if hopes for an additional game in the series after 2020’s Half-Life: Alyx are skyrocketing. In the meantime, you can get Half-Life for free via Steam until November 20 and test out all this updated and restored content for yourself!