Crowbar Collective shows first glimpses of Xen, Black Mesa 60% off on Steam
I thought Xen was, ok. There, I said it. Most people tend to disagree. Xen was clumsy first person platforming at its worst, but what it did manage to do - was to recapture the feeling of isolation and disorientation of the first hours of Half-Life. Instead of walls, it had pitfalls, and it left the player hurting for ammo, confused and vulnerable, in a hostile environment. It was atmospheric, a welcome departure from blocky staircases and industrial areas, all the while providing a glimpse into the world of the enemy, and illustrating just how alien its reality was.
Whatever grievances you might have had with Xen, can mostly be attributed to poor execution, rather than it being an altogether bad idea. That execution is about to get a modern re-do, modder style, thanks to the good people of Crowbar Collective.
Their redo of Half-Life already harvested lots of praise from pretty much everywhere. Taking the somewhat dated looking Half-Life and reworking it in a new engine, with more polish than we come to expect from some AAA titles. Black Mesa is on Steam, if you somehow managed to miss it. The game has not been translated completely yet, with the ending and Xen still missing.
Crowbar collective just released some map layouts and a screenshot relating to Xen, with the following statement: “We want to do Xen the justice it deserves, and have it be the definitive climax to the Half-Life 1 story. To do this we have completely redesigned and expanded the Xen levels to what we think Valve would have done without the limitations of the time.”
If anyone can make Xen work on a mechanical level, its these guys. We will know whether it works out, by the end of summer 2017.