Who needs Gordon Freeman aka the main protagonist of the original Half-Life game released back in 1998? The dude is boring. It’s time to move on to someone new. Someone like Spyro, that purple dragon from the Spyro The Dragon franchise. And thankfully, a new mod swaps the old Gordon for the (similarly old) Spyro, complete with the dragon’s moves and abilities.
Half-Life: Year of the Dragon is a mod that has been in development for a few years now, with an older demo of it being released back in 2018. Developed by Magic Nipples, the mod doesn’t just replace Gordon with Spyro, but changes how you actually play Half-Life. No more guns or grenades. Instead, Half-Life is now a third-person platformer that forces Spyro to use his charge and flame abilities to make his way through the alien-infested corridors of Black Mesa.
Yesterday, Magic Nipples and his team released a new trailer showing how much the mod has improved since that initial 2018 demo. Spyro has a new and improved model and the game’s overall camera and look have improved too. When I played the original demo in 2018 I was impressed by how great it played, so I’m excited to see how much has improved since.
The new demo is based on the same Half-Life level as the original demo, “Office Complex.” According to the FAQ page on the mod’s official website, the plan isn’t to remake the entirety of Half-Life featuring Spyro, but instead to create hubs, like in the original game, and select around 10 or so Half-Life levels that will be modified to work with the mods’ non-human star.
The mod and its demo are built using Xash3D, not Source or the original Half-Life engine. You can check out the old demo now via the mod’s official site if you don’t want to wait for the new demo which will be out January 21, 2022. (The creator has clarified the year at the end of the newest trailer is a mistake.)
As for when to expect the full release, it could still be a few years as Magic Nipples suggests a loose release window of “before 2024.” But when it does release the creator plans to include a ton of Easter eggs and its own SDK, letting folks make new levels and maps.