Skip to main content

Valve celebrates Half-Life's 25th Anniversary with unexpected update

25 years of Headcrabs.

Named Game of the Year by over 50 publications, Valve's debut title, Half-Life is celebrating its 25th Anniversary, and to commemorate it, Valve has unexpectedly released an update.

The update contains plenty of extra content, such as the mini-campaign Half-Life Uplink, originally released as a CD exclusive for magazines and hardware manufacturers.

Half-Life 25th Anniversary DocumentaryWatch on YouTube

It comes with four new multiplayer maps built by Valve's level designers. The maps are Contamination, Pool Party, Disposal, and Rocket Frenzy.

With the new content comes restored content, like the classic Valve logo video with its original music, and the company reskinned the menu to match the 1998 build. The original heroes from the alpha build, Ivan the Space Biker and Proto-Barney, are now available as multiplayer skins. It also comes with much of the content from Half-Life: Further Data, a disc released at retail in 1999.

Other restored content includes the multiplayer maps Double Cross, Rust Mill, and Xen DM alongside two multiplayer models from the Half-Life: Further Data CD, including the fan-favorite Too Much Coffee Man.

With updated graphics settings, you can play the game the way it looked when released in 1998, but on a modern monitor. The update adds a widescreen field of view, the option to disable texture smoothing on the GL renderer, lighting fixes including the long-lost GL Overbright support, software rendering on Linux, crisper colors, animated water, and unfiltered textures. Included is UI scaling for higher-resolution monitors.

It also supports controllers, Steam Networking, and can be played on Steam Deck.

Valve even fixed plenty of bugs, made gameplay changes, balanced the multiplayer, made engine improvements for mod makers, and more. You can look over the changelog through the official Half-Life website.

Even better, is the fact that you can grab a copy of Half-Life for free on Steam through November 20. So, there's no excuse not to give it a whirl.

Read this next