Valve is celebrating the 25th birthday of the original Half-Life by offering an upgraded version of the game for completely free on Steam. Most people are likely to already own this game, but if you don’t make sure you jump on this soon, as the free offer ends today, November 20.
As befits a celebration, Valve has made a number of additions to the classic game. One of the biggest changes is the addition of Steam Deck support, so you can revisit Black Mesa on the move, but there’s also support for higher resolution monitors, and updated graphics settings. None of these change the look of the original game, so don’t assume this is close to a remaster or anything like that, but it does make it easier to play the game on more modern hardware. As Valve’s post points out, the original Half-Life was created on 640x480 CRT monitors, and technology has moved on a little bit since then, so some tinkering to help the game run better is always welcome.
It’s not just tinkering to the game that’s included, however. Valve has also thrown in a bunch of behind the scenes bonuses, and some additional multiplayer maps too. There are four new multiplayer maps, made by Valve’s designers, which stretch the limits of the Half-Life engine. Fans of the game will also be happy to see the release of Half-Life: Uplink, a mini-campaign which was only previously available in CD form from magazines and hardware manufacturers. This campaign was created by the original team, after the game went gold. These days, this would be DLC, but back in 1998, it was a fun bonus created by a team with little else to do at the time. There’s a lot of previously cut content, including the original main menu art, the original Valve intro video, and skins from the retail-exclusive Half-Life: Further Data expansion. Finally, there’s also an hour-long documentary about the making of the game.
There’s a lot to dive into, and it’s always a pleasure to revisit a true game classic: But be quick if you don’t have it already, as this free giveaway ends today.