All Half-Life Games are Free Through March

Posted on January 21, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Games, PC gaming with 11 Comments

Valve announced today that all Half-Life games are now free through the March release of the VR spinoff Alyx.

Half-Life: Alyx is coming in March, and we are celebrating early by making all games in the Half-Life series FREE to play for Steam users, from now until the day it launches,” the Valve announcement notes. “Half-Life: Alyx is set before the events of Half-Life 2 and the episodes, but the games share characters and story elements. The Half-Life: Alyx team believes that the best way to enjoy the new game is to play through the old ones, especially Half-Life 2 and the episodes, so we want to make that as easy as possible.”

Whether you’ve played these games or not, I can highly recommend putting aside some time to play them (again) now. All of them are excellent, including the two Half-Life spin-offs—Opposing Force and Blue Shift, both of which were made by Gearbox—which don’t appear to be part of this promotion. But the games that are available for free play are for on PC only, and require the Steam client.

Once you have that, you can download each game using these links:

Half-Life 2
Half-Life 2: Episode One
Half-Life 2: Episode Two

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Comments (11)

11 responses to “All Half-Life Games are Free Through March”

  1. jmeiii75

    I wouldn't mind revisiting my friend, Gordon Freeman. Thanks for the heads-up!

  2. beckoningeagle

    I've played all these games so many times and every time I start again I find out that I forgot how long they are. Hours of fun. Too bad Alyx is VR only. I guess I'll miss that one.

    • ben lee

      In reply to BeckoningEagle:

      I'm hoping that it's a flop on VR and they re-release as a standard FPS next year. Though I can see their thinking hoping the next big HL release could boost VR sales, it's how they started Steam with the release of HL2, outrage that you required a client and internet connection to install HL2. I remember when it came out I'd just moved cities and had to pay for internet installation in my brothers house as they didn't have or want it at the time. Think the game cost me around £200 in total to play.

  3. jimchamplin

    Are they gratis to acquire, or only free to play until then?

    • Daishi

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      Free to play.

      I had to check that as well. Presumably the installation will get locked down in your Steam client after that. Personally, I’d have preferred a discount on the purchase price. There’s simply no way I get through them in two months

    • Paul Thurrott

      Free to play during this time period, not free forever.
  4. justme

    "Stand upon the mark!"


    "Notice you are not dead!"

    That from Opposing Force (the tutorial, if I remember rightly). Hours and hours of enjoyment. Disappointed that Alyx will be VR only. Not played any of them for a while now, might have to go revisit them all.

  5. ben lee

    Neat, I hadn't actually played Episode 2 it turns out, a nice releife from Borderlands 3 for a week.

  6. BrandonK

    Funny... I was already playing through these again due to the release of the Xen levels for the Black Mesa project.

    Black Mesa ($20 USD) is a remake of the first Half Life game in the Source engine, but with completely reworked Xen levels. It's labeled "Early Access", but they've got to be almost finished with it because it looked pretty polished during my playthrough. I'd strongly recommend this over the original Half-Life game.

    Other Half-Life mods worth playing:

    - Half-Life 2: Lost Coast (free)

    - MINERVA: Metastasis (free)

    - Transmissions: Element 120 (free)