We reported a few days back that a strange countdown had appeared on the Black Mesa site. Once it reached the zero-point, the result was not unexpected: the title is now officially available on Steam Early Access. It’s also now a paid product, retailing for $19.99.

The most significant changes made since the last freely-available version include multiplayer, new visuals and voice-overs, as well as Steam achievements and Steam Workshop support. Sadly, the game still has not seen a rendition of the infamous Xen sections. “We currently have the first ~85% of our single player campaign completed,” the developers state in the the Early Access Q&A. “For the last 15% we want to not only recreate it, but improve upon it to make it an enjoyable and memorable experience.”

Black Mesa is a thoroughly enjoyable lark that makes an old game feel fresh again, but it’s curious that the developers chose to release it commercially during a time where the legitimacy of paid mods is being hotly debated. There’s also some controversy surrounding a previous statement by the developers that the game would remain free, though they continue to offer downloads for the previous “legacy” version on their website.

What do you all think? Is it right of them to make it paid? Are they just being greedy or does their hard work deserve monetary compensation? Do you think it’s too expensive or reasonably-priced? Will you be clamouring to get it or will you wait until it leaves Early Access or goes on sale? Let us know in the comments.

The Steam page can be found in this neck of the woods. The free, legacy version can still be found on ModDB.

In the meantime, check out the nifty launch trailer below:

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