If your Christmas plans include gathering the family around the meat tree and singing songs celebrating the return of our saviour, Gordon Freeman, I have bad news: Black Mesa is delaying the launch of its final chapters. The sanctioned fan-made Half-Life remake had previously planned to launch the remade Xen levels in mid-December but yeah, that's not happening any more. Why? Because they're still not ready, obvs. But heck, it's been two years since Black Mesa hit early access with most of Half-Life remade (and developers Crowbar Collective have added a bit more since) so another delay doesn't make much of a difference.
"We are truly sorry for getting everyone's hopes up and then delaying... again," the Crowbar gang said in Friday's announcement. "We worked very hard to make December, but we are not yet ready. As a team, we take FULL responsibility for that. We have an internal deadline we are confident in, and we will be getting everyone more details as we get closer to that date."
Take your time, chummo. Don't say anything. Release it when it's done. Word will probably still spread - it is Half-Life after all. And Half-Life is one of the best PC games of all time, or so we say. This carries over for Black Mesa, as Marsh Davies declared the initial early access launch "one of the best shooters around".
Xen was absent from the initial free mod release of Black Mesa and the commercial follow-up because the devs wanted to do it justice. Xen looks quite different to the first of the game and includes new aliens, meaning there's a whole lot to remake. Xen is also unpopular with some players so I imagine it'll take more tweaking than many parts.
Crowbar Collective continue:
"Thank you again to our community and Early Access supporters. The funding from Early Access has allowed us to hire many new talented developers, and has allowed older developers to put more time in the project. Simply put, Xen has proven to be an enormous undertaking, and while we are managing it to the best of our ability, it is proving to take longer than we estimated."
They have also been working on fancy new technobits that'll benefit Xen as well as older areas of Black Mesa, lens flares and faster god rays and swish new forms of dynamic lighting. These features will initially hit Black Mesa as part of a public test build due in December. Hit the announcement for more details and pictures.