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This subject is related to the Black Mesa Incident era.

Half-Life: Blue Shift

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Blue Shift box.jpg
Half-Life: Blue Shift

Gearbox Software

Release date(s)
  • Windows:

June 12, 2001[1]

  • macOS and Linux:

August 1, 2013[2]


First-person shooter




Windows, macOS, Linux


ESRB: M (Mature)


Sierra Entertainment(previously)

System req

500 MHz processor, 96 MB RAM, and 16 MB video card


Keyboard and mouse






Randy Pitchford


Rob Heironimus
David Mertz
Randy Pitchford
Marc Laidlaw[3]


Chris Jensen

Previous game

Half-Life: Opposing Force

Next game

Half-Life: Decay

Half-Life: Blue Shift is the second expansion pack for Half-Life, developed by Gearbox Software and released on June 12, 2001.[1] Like Gearbox's other expansions, Half-Life: Opposing Force and Half-Life: Decay, Blue Shift returns to the setting and timeline of the original story, but with a different player character: the ubiquitous Black Mesa Research Facility security guard Barney Calhoun. As Barney, the player attempts to escape the alien invasion caused by the resonance cascade and the ensuing military cover-up.

Blue Shift has now been released via Steam and anyone with access to the back catalog, whether through an old copy of Half-Life or the Silver or Gold packs of Half-Life 2, may download Blue Shift for free.


The Blue Shift package offers the Half-Life High Definition Pack as an option at the time of install. The pack includes updated 3D character, weapon and item models, often increasing the polygon count 10-fold over the 1998 originals. The U.S. Blue Shift release includes a full, stand-alone version of Opposing Force, but the international edition has the multiplayer-only Opposing Force CTF.

Blue Shift started out first as an exclusive part of the Half-Life Sega Dreamcast port. Due to Sega pulling the plug on the Dreamcast, this version was cancelled only weeks away from release (the Dreamcast Half-Life port has since been leaked onto the Internet, with both Half-Life and Blue Shift fully playable).[4] Gearbox then turned the project into a stand-alone product; unlike Opposing Force, it does not require the original Half-Life.

The game offers some new levels and areas of Black Mesa previously unseen in a relatively short new campaign, but no new weapons or enemies, as Opposing Force offered. Aside from the High Definition Pack, the only new content was a character named Rosenberg, a Black Mesa scientist who has his own unique character model and played a major role in the story, and alternate scientist and security guard models wearing civilian attire.

On August 24, 2005, Blue Shift became available for download via the Steam content delivery program.[5] Anyone who owned an old copy of Half-Life, or the Half-Life 2 Silver or Gold packages (thus, having access to the back catalog) could download it for free.[5] Since then, access to Valve's back catalog for free after registering a previously owned copy of Half-Life has been discontinued, and Blue Shift is now sold separately. The High Definition Pack is also available via Steam.[6]

The Steam port suffers from numerous issues, most probably because the GoldSrc engine used in the game has been changed, preventing Blue Shift maps from being correctly played. Additionally, the Steam port omits the fixes from the Blue Shift patch that prevent known map and model glitches. The Steam port also introduced several other bugs that did not exist in the original release, such as the graphical user interface color now being displayed in the standard Half-Life orange, not Blue Shift blue. A third-party mod, Blue Shift: Unlocked, addresses these issues and can successfully patch files from either a CD or Steam version of Blue Shift.[7] As of 2013, Blue Shift is being fixed with the help of the community.





  • Otis, the overweight security guard introduced in Opposing Force, makes a few appearances in Blue Shift: first at the Black Mesa canteen wandering around, as a guard greeting Calhoun in the introduction chapter, at the shooting range enjoying a donut, and later as a dead body being disposed of by two soldiers.
  • Blue Shift has its own version of the Hazard Course training tutorial, suitably adjusted for security personnel. Instead of Gina Cross, a male security guard identified in the instruction manual as Miller serves as the holographic guide.
The Guard Duty logo.
  • Examination of logo sprite files included with the game (Logo320.spr and Logo640.spr) reveals that Half-Life: Blue Shift was originally titled Half-Life: Guard Duty.[8] There is an early trailer featuring this name.
  • A third-party remake of Blue Shift for the Source engine, called Guard Duty, is currently under development.[9]

Easter eggs[edit]



Half-Life: Blue Shift
Combine OverWiki has more images related to Half-Life: Blue Shift.
  1. 1.0 1.1 Half-Life: Blue Shift on IGN
  2. Half-Life: Blue Shift update released on Official Steam website (August 1, 2003)
  3. ECTS 2000: Hands-On With Half-Life on IGN (September 2, 2000)
  4. Not Given Half A Chance: The Cancellation of Half-Life on IGN (June 18, 2001) (archived)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Half-Life: Blue Shift Released on Steam on Official Steam website (August 24, 2005)
  6. Steam Client Update Available on Official Steam website (August 29, 2005)
  7. Blue Shift: Unlocked on Half-Life Improvement Team website
  8. Half-Life: Blue Shift files
  9. Guard Duty on Mod DB

External links[edit]