This subject is related to the Black Mesa Incident era.
This subject is related to the Combine era.
This subject is related to the Portal era.
This subject is related to the Portal 2 era.

Black Mesa

From Combine OverWiki, the original Half-Life wiki and Portal wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

This subject is related to the Black Mesa Incident era.
This subject is related to the Combine era.
This subject is related to the Portal era.
This subject is related to the Portal 2 era.

For other uses, see Black Mesa (disambiguation).

Doll2.png Warning! This article has yet to be cleaned up to a higher standard of quality, per our Cleanup Project. It may contain factual errors and nonsense, as well as spelling, grammar and structure issues, or simply structure problems. Reader's discretion is advised until fixing is done.

You can help clean up this page by correcting spelling and grammar, removing factual errors and rewriting sections to ensure they are clear and concise, and moving some elements when appropriate.
Please notify the administrators before removing this template.

Black Mesa logo documents.svg
Black Mesa
Political information

Research corporation

Societal information

Black Mesa Research Facility, New Mexico, USA


Working to make a better tomorrow for all mankind[1]


See Black Mesa weapons


See Black Mesa technology

Historical information

Black Mesa Incident

Date of establishment


Date of fragmentation

after the Black Mesa Incident

"Do you have a friend or relative who would make a valuable addition to the Black Mesa team? Immediate openings are available in the areas of Materials Handling and Low-Clearance Security. Please contact Black Mesa Personnel for further information. If you have an associate with a background in the areas of theoretical physics, biotechnology or other high tech disciplines, please contact our Civilian Recruitment Division. The Black Mesa Research Facility is an equal opportunity employer."
Black Mesa Transit System[src]

Black Mesa is an American research corporation whose headquarters are located in the Black Mesa Research Facility, in the New Mexico desert.[2]

Black Mesa is apparently helmed by the United States government, as the Great Seal can be seen on the ground of several lobbies of the Black Mesa Research Facility, and the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as seen on several comlink status screens.

Black Mesa is a major rival of the Aperture Science corporation.

Fields array[edit]

Black Mesa undertakes research in various fields from standard scientific research to radiation, rocketry, theoretical physics, lasers, experimental propulsion, hydraulics, robotics, hydroelectricity, genetics, zoology, applied mathematics and a very wide spectrum of research into chemistry and all manner of physics research. The research is mostly conducted in the Black Mesa Research Facility and includes both pure research and applied science.

In addition to this legitimate research, several secret projects are also carried out at Black Mesa, which are deliberately left vague. A large amount of classified research is carried out, including the development of high-tech weapons and defense systems, research into extra-dimensional travel, teleportation, and the study of Xen. During the tram ride into the Black Mesa Facility that opens Half-Life, an announcement on the public address system states that the facility is seeking employees with backgrounds in theoretical physics, biotechnology, and various other high-tech scientific disciplines.[3] It is also said that jobs in low-clearance security and materials handling are available. Black Mesa, as the same announcement states, is an equal opportunity employer.


Main article: Black Mesa personnel

Black Mesa employs in its facility two main groups of civilian employees: science personnel and security personnel, along with various other inhabitants including administrative personnel, service personnel and occasionally the employees' families. The base also keeps a small military presence.


"Black Mesa can eat my bankrupt—"
Cave Johnson, founder and CEO of Aperture Science[src]

Little is known about Black Mesa's competitors. It is known that Aperture Science was competing with Black Mesa on various government contracts, including the development of portal technology. In addition, according to potentially biased information from Aperture Science, Black Mesa received a much larger percentage of contracts than average. This information depicted by the slideshow found in Aperture, reveals the rivalry in competing for GSA Contracts and federal funding, led to Black Mesa being much more successful in achieving financial stability, while working government-granted projects. Isaac Kleiner mentioned how this rush for funding would prompt Aperture's scientists to turn to desperation, by potentially compromising ordinary standards of risk with their project on the Borealis, similarly to Black Mesa's deviation of standard procedures on the Anti-Mass Spectrometer experiment. The effect that the Xen invasion had on Aperture Science or any of Black Mesa's unnamed competitors is unknown as of now.

Behind the scenes[edit]

Marc Laidlaw's brainstorm note from Raising the Bar.
  • Series' writer Marc Laidlaw coined the name "Black Mesa Research Facility". He came up with other names during his brainstorming, including "Black Butte, Nuclear Missile Base" (located in Montana instead of New Mexico), "Sand Basin", "Diablo Mesa", "Mesa Diablo", "Diablo Plains", or "Fertile Plains". He states it is great fun for Valve to invent names for their creations, and then see them go out into the world and take on lives of their own. He also states he is very glad he decided to go with "Black Mesa Research Facility" rather than "Black Butte".[4]
  • As with Aperture Science, the Black Mesa logo is directly based on the company's name, appearing as a stylized mesa mountain against the sky.
  • In the ending song of Portal, "Still Alive", GLaDOS mentions Black Mesa, asking Chell who she thinks will help her deal with situations: Maybe you'll find someone else to help you. / Maybe Black Mesa... / THAT WAS A JOKE. HA HA. FAT CHANCE.
  • Portal series' writers Chet Faliszek and Erik Wolpaw sees the rivalry between Aperture Science and Black Mesa as "snobs versus slobs", Black Mesa being the snobs and Aperture Science "the slobs, the loveable goofballs".[5]
  • In the VR technology demo The Lab, a "Black Mesa Private Lumberyard" logo can be found under stool located next to the Xortex 26XX relic.

Artwork gallery[edit]




List of appearances[edit]

Main games[edit]



  1. Half-Life: Blue Shift instruction manual
  2. Half-Life instruction manual
  3. The Half-Life chapter Black Mesa Inbound
  4. Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, page 33
  5. "How Valve Opened Up Portal 2" on