One Half-Life fan is taking Gordon Freeman where he's never gone before: the realm of twin-stick roguelite shooters.
Half-Life: Loop (spotted by TheGamer (opens in new tab)) is a fan-made spinoff from Daniel Almenara, also known as Pinky. Think of it as Half-Life by way of Enter the Gungeon. "The main goal of the game is to progress through rooms and areas inspired by Black Mesa / Xen by doing specific objectives in each room and reach the final boss," Almenara explains on his Patreon (opens in new tab). The game's procedurally generated rooms will feature a mix of shootouts (of the top-down twin-stick variety in this case), puzzles, stealth, and platforming sequences, not unlike the original games.
Loop was built in the Unity engine using many original models, textures, and sounds from Half-Life, with custom assets added on top to make the new perspective look more natural. The environments are also based on Black Mesa and Xen locales, lending the whole project an impressive degree of authenticity. You can see more of it in motion in this short clip:
The Gluon Gun turned out very well! It's very satisfying to use.#HalfLife #HalfLifeLoop #gamedev #madewithunity pic.twitter.com/TMHnP4nkOlJune 28, 2021
Almenara estimates that each run of Half-Life: Loop will take 30 to 40 minutes. In that time, you'll encounter all the familiar enemies of Half-Life – headcrabs, vortigaunts, and plenty more – with bigguns like the Gargantua, Apache helicopter, Nihilanth, and others serving as the game's boss fights. Almenara is also planning unlockable skins for Gordon, with the possibility of Blue Shift-inspired content to come in the future.
Work on Half-Life: Loop is ongoing, and once it's ready for launch, Almenara plans to release it on Itch.io (which is now accessible via the Epic Games Store as well). He says he's looking to get it up on Steam at some point, but acknowledges that may take some persuading. That said, Valve has sanctioned Half-Life fan games before. If a universally panned game like Hunt Down the Freeman (opens in new tab) can be sold on Steam despite using official Half-Life assets, surely a promising and earnest game like Half-Life: Loop deserves a spot.
Valve shares the PC gaming community's still-burning love for Half-Life: as studio boss Gabe Newell confirmed last year, the release of Half-Life: Alyx reignited interest in additional installments in the franchise.