Valve’s VR extravaganza, Half-Life: Alyx, arrives March 2020

Valve’s VR extravaganza, Half-Life: Alyx, arrives March 2020
Credit: Valve Software

The day has finally arrived, friends. Valve today officially revealed the first images of Half-Life: Alyx, its new “flagship VR” game in the Half-Life universe. It’s a prequel to Half-Life 2, and will be released next March.

According to Valve, the game takes place between Half-Lives 1 2, and stars, as the name suggests, future Freeman ally Alyx Vance. The official description of the story reads:

In the shadow of a rising Combine fortress known as the Citadel, residents of City 17 learn to live under the rule of their invaders. But among this scattered population are two of Earth’s most resourceful scientists: Dr. Eli Vance and his daughter Alyx, the founders of a fledgling resistance.

Alyx will be fighting off Combine soldiers with a variety of weapons and tools, including some baller gravity gloves, which you can see in the featured image up top. The gameplay sounds like your typical VR-based gameplay on steriods: “Rummage through shelves to find a healing syringe and some shotgun shells. Manipulate tools to hack alien interfaces. Tear a headcrab off your face and throw it out the window.”

It’s far more than just a tech demo. Rumor has it the game will be just as long as Half-Life 2. It’ll work with any Steam VR-compatible headsets, including Valve’s Index, Oculus, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality. According to the Alyx website, the game will be compatible with a variety of inputs and playing environments, including from a seated position.

The gameplay, from what was shown in the trailer, will show combat, exploration, and even stealth using VR. This looks pretty awesome, and pretty Half-Life, unsilent protagonist notwithstanding. The G-Man even appears at the very end of the trailer — doesn’t have to say a word. If you’re like me and haven’t played Half-Life in a dog’s age, you might want to get refreshed, as Valve programmer David Speyrer told The Verge: “…we actually recommend that you play through Half-Life 2: Episode 2 before you play Half-Life: Alyx, for reasons that will become clear as you progress.”

Valve head Gabe Newell said in a press release, “Everyone at Valve is excited to be returning to the world of Half-Life,” which feels only slightly insensitive to say given how long fans have been waiting and how this still isn’t the thing they’ve been asking for. But I won’t lie, it is good to see one of the best and most influential game series revived by its makers. It’s just plain great to see Valve back in action.

You can pre-order Half-Life Alyx now on Steam. You’ll also get the game free if you own a Valve Index headset, so if you want one of those, you can find them here.

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