Black Mesa’s new beta includes some of the long awaited Xen chapter

Final release ‘won’t be long’

I think it has been roughly 4,000 years since Black Mesa, the fan-made Source engine remake of Half-Life, released and it still isn’t quite finished. We’re getting closer, though, and the game’s latest beta gives us a taste of the finale. At long last, parts of the hotly anticipated “Xen” chapter of Half-Life are now in playable form. While they haven’t been incorporated into the main game yet, owners can opt into a technical beta and take a test run of Gordon Freeman’s journey to lands beyond our own planet.

A post on the Black Mesa Steam page reads, “The purpose of this beta is to collect bugs and feedback on a range of different computers. We have made significant improvements and changes to the Source engine, and we want the game to run as smoothly as possible. If you want to be on the bleeding edge of testing, opt into this beta. If you want the polished, complete Xen experience, you should wait. It won’t be long!”

I’ve actually written about Xen in Black Mesa twice now, so I’m shocked that it’s finally coming to fruition. It’s not that I doubted developer Crowbar Collective would actually finish its remake, but I figured something would happen similar to Valve and we’d never get our conclusion. At least someone is showing love and dedication to the Half-Life series, a passion that I hope rubs off on its original creators.

If you own Black Mesa on Steam (it is currently on sale for $7.99), you can launch the beta by right-clicking on the game from Steam’s launcher, clicking properties, and moving to the Betas tab. From there, click the new public beta from the drop down tab and Steam will proceed to download these new levels. You’ll need to start a new game, but you can jump straight to chapter 15 instead of playing through everything.

Xen Technical Beta [Steam Community]

Peter Glagowski
Former Dtoid staff member.