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Half-Life is Steam Deck verified with new multiplayer maps for its 25th anniversary

Nostalgia and novelty

Ivan the Space Biker and Proto-Barney in Half-Life's 25th anniversary update.
Image credit: Valve Software

Half-Life came out 25 years ago tomorrow and to celebrate Valve ahve released an anniversary update. It includes four new multiplayer maps, updated graphics settings, and fully verified Steam Deck support. It also includes some new multiplayer models and skins, including proto-Barney and the original design for Gordon Freeman, pictured above.

"We finally put our game through our own “Verified” tests, and... we failed super hard," says Valve's microsite on the update. "So we fixed it! After re-testing the game, Half-Life gets to officially wear the green checkmark."

Among the fixes are out-of-the-box gamepad support and reorganised settings menus so you can navigate them with a controller. The graphics settings include support for widescreen field of views, most importantly, and HUD scaling for running on 4K resolutions. There are also some tweaks to GL rendering features and support for software rendering on Linux. Half-Life also now uses Steam Networking, letting you use Steam's native join and invite functionality for setting up multiplayer matches.

That's significant because Valve have created four entirely new multiplayer maps which "push the limits of what's possible in the Half-Life engine." One of them, Rocket Frenzy, is based on the singleplayer mission in which you ignite a rocket, while Pool Party is set in an abandoned Xen outpost built around three large healing pools.

Valve have also bundled together some older extra content, including three multiplayer maps, two models and dozens of sprays originally released on a special "Half-Life: Further Data" CD sold at retail in 1999, and Half-Life: Uplink, the standalone mini-campaign given away via magazine coverdiscs and bundled with 3D cards around the time of Half-Life's release.

They've even made several tweaks for purely nostalgia reasons, restoring the original menu design and original Valve logo that was washed away from the previous Source engine re-release.

Half-Life's 25th anniversary edition is entirely free from Steam. This is the edition Valve say they'll be supporting in future.

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Graham Smith

Deputy Editorial Director

Rock Paper Shotgun's former editor-in-chief and current corporate dad. Also, he continues to write evening news posts for some reason.