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Race X

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Race X
Race X
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Individual information
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Entity / spawn codes
  • monster_geneworm
  • monster_pitdrone
  • monster_pitworm_up
  • monster_shocktrooper
  • monster_alien_voltigore
  • monster_alien_babyvoltigore
  • monster_shockroach

Stephen Bahl[1][2]

Race X[3] is the designation given to a mysterious alien race (or collection of races) that appeared in the Black Mesa Research Facility late in the Black Mesa Incident.

The aliens of Race X serve as some of the main enemies of Opposing Force.


Sprites xen

Sprites coming from a Race X Xen crystal-powered portal on Xen.

Race X consists of several alien species, varying widely in size and shape. Their technology appears to be almost entirely biological in nature; notably, they use living weapons such as the insectoid Shock Roach, and they use a massive creature known as a Gene Worm to terraform worlds. The aliens also have a variety of natural defenses, such as claws, spines and toxic spit.

Race X appears to have mastered teleportation technology, as they can teleport around Black Mesa and installed at least one Xen crystal-powered teleportation device on Xen. Their portals are purple in color, as opposed to the green-glowing portals seen used by Xen residents. They used the Xen teleporter during the later stages of the Black Mesa Incident to bring Sprites from their homeworld to Earth, suggesting that they already had some knowledge of Xen prior to the invasion. However, they were not particularly well adapted to the borderworld,[4] and as a result they never had a notable presence there.

Race X was discovered by chance by the Black Mesa scientists, when they opened a rift to another dimension than that of Xen during their portal technology experiments,[2] which lay "somewhere beyond" Xen.[4] As the nature and location of the dimension was unknown, the designation "X" was used by Black Mesa to refer to the dimension and its residents.[2]

The aliens of Race X have no relation to those of Xen, and as such did not cooperate with them during the Black Mesa Incident. The Resonance Cascade probably affected portals linked to their world, allowing them to teleport into the Black Mesa facility in great numbers; Some apparently teleported into Xen as well. They might also have used the Gene Worm portal, which may have been the original portal to the Race X homeworld in Black Mesa.

Upon their arrival at Black Mesa, the smaller Race X troops begin killing any living beings in the vicinity to make way for the Gene Worm. Their eventual goal was to assimilate Earth's natural resources through the use of the Worm;[3] their plans were stopped, however, due to the actions of Adrian Shephard. Afterwards, it is likely that the rift to their dimension was sealed off by Black Mesa's destruction, removing their only access point to Earth and preventing them from spreading across the planet.

Some of the Race X creatures are studied in Black Mesa's Sector E Biodome Complex. A huge Sprite-powered portal used by the Gene Worm is also present in Black Mesa. Not all Black Mesa scientists are aware of Race X's existence, as suggested when a scientist attacked by a Shock Trooper calls out that he has "never seen that species before".

Known SpeciesEdit

Gene Worm enters

The Gene Worm coming through its portal.

Behind the scenesEdit

Created by Gearbox, the Race X only appears in Opposing Force; they are not mentioned in any other games or media.

Some explanation and clarifications about the Race X and their place in the Half-Life universe were given by series' writer Marc Laidlaw; it can be found in the Marc Laidlaw Vault on the Forums. There he states that Race X is purely a Gearbox creation that does not figure at all in his thinking about the Half-Life universe (although his level of input into its creation, if any, is unknown). He furthers adds that the Gearbox team wanted to come up with a set of creatures that would create gameplay they knew how to make, and that they could have been making an original title or an add-on for any other franchise, and plugged Race X into it - the reason being that they had gameplay they wanted to explore and needed the freedom of their own race of critters to conduct those experiments with. He also suggests that if Gearbox had kept making games set in the Half-Life universe, more about the Race X would have been revealed.[4]

Race X's creator Stephen Bahl gave further information about the Race X's creation, nature and purpose when asked on Facebook. Bahl states that the team wanted to add some new creature variety without messing with what Valve had already established, hence the creation of another rift to another dimension, allowing the coming to Earth of creatures unrelated to Nihilanth's issues with its race and the Combine, and not interfering with Marc Laidlaw's original plot. To the team, "it made sense that a rift to a dimension other than Xen could have opened up to let other creatures in". These answers can also be found in the Marc Laidlaw Vault on the Forums.[2]


  • Assimilating Earth's natural resources is also what the Combine does in the Half-Life 2 story arc and could be the potential main reason as to why The G-Man kept Adrian Shephard at Black Mesa instead of letting him board the evacuation chopper in the chapter We Are Pulling Out. Keeping Shephard in Black Mesa and closing the Gene Worm's portal (to prevent any more Race X aliens to invade through the rift) meant that it was ultimately made easier for the Combine to invade Earth.
  • On Xen in Blue Shift, Chumtoads are seen teleporting out of their "lair" with purple portals, the same color of that of the Race X. However their shape is different, making it unlikely that the Chumtoad was retconned by Gearbox as part of the Race X.


List of appearancesEdit


Half-Life Wiki has more images related to Category:Race X images.
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