Many PC gaming fans eagerly await the day when the next game in Valve’s flagship FPS franchise, Half-Life, will be released. Perhaps such fans will be sated for a time by the newest ‘Half-Life’ game, Prospekt, which is not a product of Valve, instead being a fan-made creation. This hasn’t stopped Valve from giving the game their full approval and as a result, it is set to be released on their Steam service on February 11th.
Prospekt is set up as a sequel to the 1999 Half-Life spin-off game, Half-Life: Opposing Force. Players will reprise the role of US Marine Corporal Adrian Shepherd, who made his debut (and only) appearance in the original Opposing Force as he explored the Black Mesa Research Facility. This time, Corporal Shepherd will be delving into the Nova Prospekt prison, a location featured in Half-Life 2, at the behest of the Vortigaunts in order to save Gordon Freeman from being overrun by soldiers inside the facility. The mission will take place across 13 levels with gameplay time said to be comparable to that of Half-Life 2: Episode 1.
The game is the long time project of a single developer, Richard Seabrook, who has put over 2,500 hours into creating the game. Being approved by Valve allows Seabrook to sell his game, that makes use of Valve’s licensed Half-Life 2 assets. This is in contrast to most fan-made Source engine games, which are often either free or have to be careful to use unlicensed assets if they wish to profit from its sale. It isn’t the first fangame to receive Valve’s approval, that honour going to Black Mesa, a full remake of the original Half-Life making use of the power of Half-Life 2’s Source Engine. Prospekt also promises a number of enhancements over the original Half-Life 2, offering a slew of graphical, audio and even AI improvements.
“I’m hugely grateful for the immense support from the Half-Life 2 and PC gaming community”, said Seabrook. “I can’t wait to hear what they think of the finished game and work the feedback into my next project, no doubt developed while we all wait for Half-Life 3.!”
The game will be on sale on Steam from February 11th for £7.50 ($9.99/€9.99), but if you pre-purchase from today there will be a 10% discount to the standard price, only paying £6.75($8.99/ €8.99). I think this is a great precedent for Valve to be setting, allowing fans to officially build and expand on their established franchise story and lore. It is doubtful Steam would allow a compromise in quality for such games, but it is a step better than the typical approach of license holders shutting down or banning the sale of such products.