Valve’s follow-up to Half-Life will actually be a prequel game set before Half-Life 2, and will go on sale March 2020.
On Thursday, the company showed off footage for Half-Life: Alyx, a virtual reality-based game. It will let you assume the character Alyx Vance in an adventure to save her father.
As we suspected, the game requires you to own a VR headset. Through the controls, you’ll be able to pick up and load guns, and battle enemies, such as alien headcrabs and Combine soldiers.
We’re impressed by what we saw. Valve basically took the world of Half-Life 2 and updated it with modern graphics. The trailer also teases the prospect of an almost life-like immersion into the game world by letting you interact with objects and people through two VR-based hands.
“Lean around a broken wall and under a barnacle to make an impossible shot Rummage through shelves to find a healing syringe and some shotgun shells,” Valve says in describing the game. “Manipulate tools to hack alien interfaces. Tear a headcrab off your face and throw it out the window. VR was built for the kind of gameplay that sits at the heart of Half-Life.”
The company also says the game will be a “full-length entry,” so we expect numerous hours of gameplay as opposed to a short demo-like experience. According to the system requirements, the game will run on the SteamVR platform, require Windows 10, and need at least an Nvidia GTX 1060 or AMD RX 580 graphics card to generate the VR experience.
Valve has launched a dedicated website for Half-Life: Alyx with more information. You can also pre-order it on Steam for a discounted $ 53.99. The company has also published a list of compatible VR headsets, which include the Valve Index, HTC Vive, and Oculus headsets.
So why didn’t Valve just make a sequel to Half-Life 2? In a video, Valve’s developers didn’t give a direct answer, but indicated that making a Half-Life 3 game seemed too daunting when the company first started the project back in 2016. Instead, the company’s main focus at the time was to build a blockbuster VR game when the market for virtual reality games remains relatively small.
“We’re very excited about building more Half-Life that’s for sure,” said Valve developer Robin Walker in the video.
“We want to put this out and see how the world reacts to it, before we make any concrete plans to what we do next,” added developer David Speyrer.
Interestingly, the company also weighed creating a VR-based game for its other hit franchise, Portal. But the developers feared such a game would make people sick, since the gameplay would revolve around jumping through portals and flying through space.