Mods are one of the best selling points of PC gaming. Not only can they add elements to gameplay that weren't there before, but they can improve the graphics and fix problems that the original developers never saw coming; or in the case of Black Mesa, it can completely remake its source material from scratch. Lauded by fans of the series, the Black Mesa mod showed us what years of dedication can do but now the developers are set to be rewarded far more than with just fan adoration. Valve has given permission for it to go on sale on Steam.
Of course we knew the mod was going up on Steam at some point, since it was one of the first games to be given the green light, by Valve's Greenlight procedure, but the fact that you'll be able to pay for it – that makes it sound like a treat for us too – is all new.
Discussing the move in a Steam community update, the developers said: “Black Mesa has been given the opportunity to be sold as a retail product on Steam! This is an incredible honour – one we never expected – but also one we found hard to accept.”
They then go on to say that nobody made the mod with money in mind but there are some benefits to it. On top of improving their individual financial situations, it will also mean they can afford to spend the time on making the mod even better with the full version of the Source engine.
“Soon you'll see Black Mesa available on Steam for a relatively low price. But we aren't dropping all support for the free version. In fact shortly after the Steam release there will be a completely new free version of the game. We also plan to open source our maps and some game assets to the modding community,” continues the post.
Buying the commercial Black Mesa version will give you access to a few features that the free version doesn't have, though the team hasn't announced what those will be yet, describing it as more of a way of supporting the devs than getting yourself much in the way of extra content.
In a tack-on update at the end, the team also lets us in on the progress of Xen, the final chapter from the original Half Life that's currently missing from the mod. It's in thee works, but is still not that close to completion.
KitGuru Says: This is pretty cool news and makes sense for everyone. The developers can now make a little money to help give them more time to work the mod going forward and Valve gets a little taste from its Steam sales cut. Not bad considering its original game is 15 years old now.[Cheers Eurogamer]