After 19 Years, Germany Can Finally Murder Scientists in 'Half-Life'

Uncensored version shows up on German Steam a week after Germany's video game censorship body dropped Half-Life from its index.

May 4 2017, 3:38pm

Image: Drivethehive

The German government traditionally isn't too big on depictions of violence, and thus video game developers usually have to remove portrayals of blood and dismemberment before they can release their games in the country. One side-effect of that stance is that unpirated copies of the landmark first-person shooter Half-Life have been censored in Germany since shortly after its release in 1998, resulting in a markedly different experience than would-be crowbar-wielding scientists elsewhere in the world have known.

But that's no longer the case, if players choose. The German gaming site Schnittberichte reported last week that Half-Life had been "canceled prematurely" from the censorship index of Germany's Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (USK) and that developer Valve was thus free to release Half-Life to the Teutonic masses as it was always meant to be seen.

And Valve was quick respond, too. Jump over to Half-Life's Steam page for Germany, and you'll already find an "uncensored" version of the game presented as DLC for German players. If those German players have already bought the original, censored version, all they need to do is click that link and the download will automatically replace the censored version. Impressively, Valve's description says the replacement apparently doesn't even affect saved files from the censored version.

The big question is whether many German players would even want to replace it. As you can see in the accompanying videos, the censored German version wasn't without its idiosyncratic charms. Bulky green robots with HAL-like eyes stood in for the soldiers familiar from the uncensored release and dead aliens spilled no blood. (If they bled anything, it was screws.) Most amusing of all, security guards and the scientists at Black Mesa wouldn't die if you shot them; instead, they'd cower on the floor and shake their heads. Now, finally, Germans will be able to shoot them dead if they want.