It took them 11 years to get to this point. 11 years. Black Mesa may have already been released for free back in 2012, but it's back again. This time it's not free despite them promoting it as free while campaigning on Steam Greenlight. This time it's $20 (USD) and available only through Steam Early Access because download links to the free mod release have been removed. I hear that the download links were pulled because there might be a new release of the free mod coming soon. However, the last time we heard anything definitive on that was from 2013.

So what does $20 get you that the old free version couldn't? Well, it's hard to tell what value was actually added here. This release does include deathmatch multiplayer now. However, as noted, single player still does not include any of the Xen chapters. It's also allegedly on a newer version of the Source Engine, but the extent of what this means is anybody's guess right now.

What do you actually get then?
- Over 10 Hours of single player gameplay, up to the Lambda Core chapter
- Deathmatch and team deathmatch multiplayer
- 6 Stunningly recreated multiplayer maps from Half-Life 1
- Dedicated servers
- The Source Engine, pushed to its limits!
- An incredible, full-length soundtrack
- Fantastic new choreographed scenes and all new voice acting

Unfortunately, the $20 price is enough to dissuade many people that were interested in this, especially after it was falsely promoted as free during its Greenlight campaign. That also probably means that the number of people playing online multiplayer will suffer.

If there truly is an updated free version still coming, they should have released it at the same time as the paid version. Give people the option to support you and give you money if they so desire, while still keeping true to your promise of a free release. However, that talk about a free release was from late 2013, so those plans may have also changed. If you feel like spending $20, you can buy Black Mesa from Steam Early Access.