There’s a good chance you’ve never actually heard of Gunman Chronicles. Originally conceived as a Quake 1 mod, known as “Gunmanship 101”. Eventually, the team decided to switch over to the Quake 2 engine. This is where the majority of the design was set in stone for the project, which had by then been renamed to “Gunman”. But eventually, even the Q2 engine became outdated, and the team moved to the new Half-Life engine.
After a strong showing at the Half-Life Mod Expo in 1999 alongside modding classics like Counter-Strike, Action Half-Life, Science & Industry and USS Darkstar (by the way, Valve, when will we get a new Mod Expo?), Sierra and Valve were impressed, and Gunman became a retail product, with funding, some helping hands, and office space at Valve. Finally released in November 2000 to lukewarm reviews, Gunman wasn’t much of a hit. But despite its mediocre plot and writing, and despite the slightly repetitive gameplay, it’s still a pretty solid shooter.
It remains unclear if Valve owns the rights, or if Sierra owned the rights from the start and if they now lie with Activision (as Havas, which acquired Sierra along with the rest of the Cendant Corporation’s software entertainment properties in 1999, was purchased by Vivendi, which in turn, merged with Activision in 2007). It’s even possible that the rights have expired. So don’t go expecting a Gunman Chronicles 2, or even a Steam re-release very soon. You can still find copies of Gunman on online stores, but maybe you’re not the bidder type. Maybe you just want to check out the game, without having to pay an exorbitant amount of money for a battered first edition copy? Well, it seems like you’re in luck!