Mysterious new Half-Life app appears on Steam before 25th anniversary

Something is going on with Half-Life. Firstly, there have been a series of updates to the Steam backend of the original game, seemingly hinting at some kind of change or new set of features that might be released to mark Half-Life’s 25th anniversary on Sunday November 19. Possibly, this will be full, verified Steam Deck support for the classic shooter, or maybe something else – maybe Gordon Freeman, Black Mesa, and cohort will return for some kind of new chapter. But perhaps more mysterious, on the same day that Half-Life suddenly becomes a free game on Steam – and then stops being a free game on Steam, after Valve seemingly reverses the decision – a new, mysterious Half-Life app appears. I’m not getting my hopes up. We’re not talking Half-Life 3 here. But maybe we should start preparing for unforeseen consequences.

Half-Life is about to turn 25. I’ll give you a second to exhale deeply, look a bit sorrowful, and try to forget how old we’re all getting. Done? Okay. So the iconic Valve FPS game is approaching its anniversary, and a series of updates have appeared on Steam that seem to suggest some kind of event or new content or imminent announcement. It might be relatively standard – the aforementioned full Steam Deck support – or maybe something more unexpected. But that’s not all that’s going on in the Half-Life world.

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On Thursday November 16, Half-Life suddenly became a free Steam game, available for absolutely nothing until Monday November 20. However, it didn’t take long for that generous offer to disappear, and Half-Life is once again only available on Valve’s store for its previous purchase price. On the same day, however, something new and unusual appeared in the Steam backend. Hidden to the public, there is now listed something called the ‘Half-Life Franchise Advertising App.’

Half-Life Steam app: A new upload to Steam relating to Valve FPS game Half-Life

Is this going to be a new, dedicated Steam page or section for everything Half-Life? If so, will it be inaugurated with some kind of new release? Perhaps this is all related to Half-Life 2 RTX, which is still in the works. Or maybe it’s connected to the new Steam Deck OLED, or the somewhat mythical Valve VR headset, known as Deckard.

Or maybe it’s Half-Life 3, and 4, and 5, bundled with six new Portal games and a Left 4 Dead remaster. Valve seems to be up to something, and this is certainly the right time for a big Half-Life moment. We’ll see what happens on Sunday November 19.

In the meantime, enjoy some much-deserved nostalgia with the best old games that you can still get on PC. Alternatively, get some of the best ever zombie games, or read our full Steam Deck OLED review for full analysis of Valve’s new handheld.

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