Half-Life just got a massive update for its 25th anniversary

More than a facelift.

Half-Life update 25th anniversary art wallpaper

The legendary Half-Life is 25 years old and just got a fresh coat of orange paint. Valve has released the 25th anniversary update, which adds a staggering amount of changes and content to Half-Life including more multiplayer maps, modernized visual options, and the once-magazine exclusive Uplink campaign.

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The update is live now for owners of Half-Life, which likely counts for about 98% of all PC owners. And Valve has made sure nostalgia is set to hit you in the face like an unchecked crowbar right off the bat. The 25th anniversary update brings back the old-school Valve logo to Half-Life, along with the classic menu. This is probably the best way to relive that iconic ‘monorail’ opener.

Half-Life update 25th anniversary uplink
Half-Life Uplink. Image via Valve

Dust off that HEV suit, you’re going back in

But the update isn’t just mired in nostalgia. As mentioned, the update includes plenty of new content and fixes along with modern changes. The update also adds four new multiplayer maps: Contamination, Pool Party, Disposal, and Rocket Frenzy.

On the technical side of things, the update brings plenty. Half-Life received wide-screen FOV support, an option to disable GL Renderer texture smoothing, lighting fixes “including the long-lost GL Overbright support,” and visual support for Linux users. You also get options for controller configurations, as well as Steam Networking. But, like a breathless infomercial, you know that’s not all.

Half-Life update 25th anniversary new maps like disposal
The new map, Disposal. Image via Valve

Perhaps the biggest surprise in the 25th anniversary update is the inclusion of Half-Life Uplink. For those unfamiliar, Uplink is a separate story campaign that Valve developed after the base game hit gold. It was sent out as a magazine-exclusive CD but has returned home thanks to the update.

But forget about all that; Ivan and Proto-Barney are back!

Half-Life update 25th anniversary ivan and proto barney return
Ivan and Proto-Barney return as multiplayer skins in Half-Life. Image via Valve

The gruesome twosome is joined by other classic goodies. From the Half-Life: Further Data CD, the game receives:

  • Three multiplayer maps
    • Double Cross
    • Rust Mill
    • Xen DM
  • Two multiplayer models
    • Skeleton
    • Two Much Coffee Man

Half-Life 25th-anniversary update gets the game Steam Deck verified and more

Just in time for the Steam Deck OLED, Valve has given the green checkmark to Half-Life. According to the team, Half-Life initially failed verification. And that just wasn’t okay for Valve’s tentpole franchise. It’s now fully Steam Deck verified, playing at “800p with improved controls and UI.”

Half-Life update 25th anniversary skeleton and coffee man skins

There’s a lot more to the Half-Life 25th anniversary update. It comes with more sprays, dozens and dozens of fixes and changes, and more. Valve also released an hour-long Half-Life documentary with behind-the-scenes looks at the development along with team member interviews.

For those wondering, Valve views the anniversary update as “the definitive version.” It replaces Half-Life: Source on the Steam Store. But you can change the build in the game’s properties.

About The Author
Cameron Woolsey
A freelance writer, Cam has been playing games for decades and writing about them for about 15 years. He specializes in action RPGs, shooters, and brawlers, but will always make a little bit of time for indies and classics.
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