Half-Life Goes Free-to-Play, Gets Huge Update for Its 25th Anniversary

Half-Life 25th Anniversary Update

Half-Life is a game that has left an eternal legacy. This game was the starting signal for Valve’s journey, which subsequently created Steam, Steam Deck, Counterattackand many other titles. And fittingly enough, the company is celebrating Half-Life’s 25th anniversary in the most creditable way possible by making the game free and releasing a MAJOR update.

The half-life is free as Valve celebrates its 25th anniversary

Added the new Half-Life map in the update

The first thing Valve did for the celebration was create the game to claim for free for everyone. If you’ve never bought the original Half-Life, you can go to Steam and claim it. The offer is valid until November 20, 2023. If you have a Steam account, claim the title and play the infamous Resonance Cascade event.

But in typical fashion, Valve went above and beyond and dropped a free update. The new update celebrates the game’s rich history and is aptly called ‘The 25th Anniversary Update’. In the update, Valve has a brand new mini campaign called Uplink.

They launched it on disc exclusively for magazines and hardware manufacturers in the 90s. Developed by the team after the game went gold, Valve claims this was many’s first experience with the game. This mini-campaign was never officially launched until this update and is a small part of Gordon Freeman’s wider adventure.

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Outside Uplink adds the update four new multiplayer maps designed by Valve level designers. Each map, named Contamination, Pool Party, Disposal and Rocket Frenzy, offers a different gameplay experience. These are the first new cards the game has received in over a decade.

And it doesn’t end there, as Valve has added three maps from the Further Data drive. They are called Double Cross, Rust Mill and Xen DM. That’s seven new cards for players to enjoy. You also get four new multiplayer skins: Incredible Skeleton, Too Much Coffee Man, Space Biker, and Proto-Barney.

Additionally, the update includes controller and networking support, updated graphics settings such as widescreen FOV, texture flattening switch, lighting fixes, and software rendering on Linux. Additionally, the entire UI has been reworked to fit today’s monitors, perfectly scaled to a higher resolution, and the old Valve startup and main menu for Half-Life is back.

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To coincide with the new Steam Deck OLED launch, the game is finally available verified on Steam Deck. I tried the title today and it feels fantastic on my original 64GB system.

Finally, the new update also includes dozens of bug fixes for the game. The original Half-Life had a lot of bugs, some funny, some annoying. And Valve engineers and developers sat down to fix almost every problem. The list of changes is huge to include here. Therefore, we recommend that you visit their new one 25th anniversary website and read the changes.

Valve launches a documentary to celebrate the game

In addition to the impressive game update and offering the title for free, Valve also launched a 25th anniversary documentary. The one-hour video brings back most of the developers from the original game, sharing and discussing the development of Half-Life.

Prominent people such as Gabe Newell, Mike Harrington and many others share their memories of the game in this documentary. The film was shot by Secret Tape, known for making video game documentaries. Danny O’Dwyer, known for his NoClip documentaries and founder of Secret Tape, directed the entire project. He previously made a documentary about Half-Life for NoClip.

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We rarely see developers pay so much attention to their old titles, and Valve is known for respecting and loving their past legacy. This 25th anniversary could have been completed by making the game free. However, adding so much content to the game is downright impressive.

I’m not one for assumptions and conspiracy theories, but given that I am Steam deck OLED recently came out and Half-Life celebrated its 25th anniversary, we may finally get news about the third game. Then again, we all know Valve doesn’t like number three, so this is just wishful thinking on my part.

So, are you excited about the new update? Do you plan to play the game? If you’ve played it before, do you plan on revisiting the title and playing Deathmatch? Let us know in the comments below.

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