A new update for Valve’s first game, 1998’s beloved first-person shooter Half-Life, has fixed an old, small, and annoying animation glitch found in one of the game’s most memorable levels. And fans, myself included, are very excited about it.
The original Half-Life has plenty of memorable moments throughout its campaign. But one of the most famous has to be chapter six, “Blast Pit.” In this level, players are introduced to a big alien tentacle in a still-impressive set piece in which it crashes through a window in a missile silo and drags away a helpless researcher. However, for a very long time now, an animation glitch has made this moment look wonky and broken.
Last week, Valve released a large 25th-anniversary patch for Half-Life that added in old cut content and new maps, fixed numerous glitches, and even made the game verified on Steam Deck. It was a great patch! However, even after that big update, the Blast Pit animation bug remained. Even after two smaller patches were put out by Valve to fix some minor issues created by the 25th-anniversary update, the Blast Pit bug was still in the game. It taunted players, myself included, who went back to replay the game for the 100th time. A developer who worked on Half-Life even recently commented on the broken animation and joked that it needed to be fixed. And now it finally has after many, many years.
On November 22, Valve released another small patch for Half-Life designed mostly to fix a few more problems the big update introduced. And in the patch notes, I spotted a note that caught my attention:
Fixed timing for the sequence where a tentacle grabs a scientist in Blast Pit.
Could it be? Had Valve finally fixed this tiny error that had lingered for decades at this point? I quickly hopped into Half-Life, loaded up Blast Pit, and watched that helpless scientist get grabbed and pulled away. But this time, he was actually connected to the tentacle and not floating multiple feet in front of it. I might have whispered, “Wow.”
Over on the Half-Life subreddit, players are also celebrating the fixed animation. “Those crazy bastards did it,” one user replied. “That little bug annoyed me so much for some reason, so I unironically consider Half-Life a better game now that it’s finally fixed lol,” posted someone else.
While I’m happy Half-Life is getting so much love from Valve right now in the form of all these updates and fixes, I’m also curious as to why. Sure, it’s the game’s 25th anniversary, so it makes sense to update it.
But things like this make it feel as if a group of devs, or maybe even just one Half-Life superfan within Valve, are on a mission right now, just digging into the game and fixing long-standing bugs. And Valve seems to be okay with it. And you know what, I’m okay with it, too! I salute whoever is responsible for improving Half-Life all these years later.