Valve Ventures Into VR With ‘Half-Life: Alyx’

Fans of the 'Half-Life' franchise are excited for the first game in the series in over a decade.

Gamer testing VR headset.
Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Fans of the 'Half-Life' franchise are excited for the first game in the series in over a decade.

Valve stunned fans today with an announcement on their official Twitter account, one mentioning a new Half-Life game. The last game in the series was released 12 years ago, and fans have been awaiting an update, with some abandoning hope altogether.

The newest title, Half-Life: Alyx, is part of a separate flagship VR trilogy promised by the developer. The game was built on both Unity and Valve’s famous proprietary game engine, Source 2. Half-Life: Alyx will be released exclusively on PC and will require gamers to use PC VR devices — like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or Windows Mixed Reality — to play the first-person shooter.

Valve began teasing the concept of this game three years ago, according to Ars Technica. Valve had initially announced that this title would be released late 2019, but they have since shifted the debut timeline to March 2020.

Valve — known for other smash-hit titles like DotA 2, Counter-Strike, and Portal — noted that this game will serve as a prequel to certain events in the currently incomplete Half-Life trilogy, which has been in progress since 1998. The developer has released several off-shoot stories relating to the core trilogy, but has yet to release the third and final installment. The events in the upcoming Half-Life: Alyx precede the second game in the main series, and the title features a stand-alone single-player campaign. Players will enjoy the title from the perspective of Alyx Vance, a character first introduced in Half-Life 2.

Some fans, while excited, expressed their reservation about VR’s slow adoption across the broader video game market.

Other fans championed the American developer’s innovation.

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Gabe Newell, co-founder of Valve, spoke on this topic with Eurogamer during a media luncheon held at the company’s Washington headquarters.

“It feels like we’ve been stuck with mouse and keyboard for a reeeaaally [sic] long time and that the opportunities to build much more interesting kinds of experiences for gamers were there, we just need to sort of expand what we can do. But it’s not about being in hardware, it’s about building better games. It’s about taking bigger leaps forward with the kinds of games that we can do.”

Valve entered the VR space earlier this year with the release of its own VR headset, Valve Index. The device was met with critical acclaim despite being one of the more expensive VR headsets in the market— experts across the gaming industry praised its clear visuals, comfortability, and responsive controllers.

Valve will release more information about Half-Life: Alyx on their Twitter feed tomorrow, November 21, at 10 a.m. PST.