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Half-Life: Alyx Revealed, The Future Of VR?

After fifteen years of patiently waiting, a new Half-Life game has just been revealed by Valve; specifically “Half-Life: Alyx”. The game takes place between the events of Half-Life 1 and Half-Life 2. ‘Alyx Vance’ is going to be the main protagonist this time around; unlike from the second entry in the series where she was the deuteragonist to Gordon Freeman. In this article, we will be going through the trailer together and building a bigger picture of what is in store for us.

A new approach to VR?

Half-Life: Alyx is first and foremost going to be entirely VR. This opens up many intriguing concepts for us to ponder on; as strictly speaking, the newest entry isn’t “Half-Life 3” but still is going to be a full-length game. I for one believe that a Half-Life game in VR is a step that will hopefully breathe new life into the VR genre as Half-Life has done previously with games as a whole.

For Example, Half-Life 1 was one of the first games to include scripted sequences that would keep the momentum of gameplay accelerating at all times which is of course very often seen in the games we play today. If you’re looking for an implementation of physics to an elevated standard; look no further than Half-Life 2. This offered players the opportunity to place blocks on a ramp to weigh it down, or simply if you shot an exploding barrel the debris of the blast would scatter around the map. All of this and more was simply never seen before in the industry at the time.

Half-Life 2, “Physics Demo”

So, the question stands, what will Half-Life: Alyx bring to the already well-decorated table? Could it re-invigorate the VR landscape and offer players a wider sense of control? Or will it revolutionize storytelling within VR games and achieve a higher degree of technicality? The tantalizing question still stands to be answered, but we’ll all be here next March when it is revealed.

What do we know so far about the story?

The graphics look very well polished.

Along with the trailer, a new section of the Half-Life official website was unveiled, detailing valuable information about the game. For Example:

“You and your father were relocated to City 17. In the years since, you’ve continued your clandestine scientific activity—performing critical research, and building invaluable tools for the few humans brave enough to defy the Combine.”

Valve

In ‘Half-Life: Alyx’ we will be mounting an attack against the “Combine” who are the antagonists of Gordon Freeman in Half-Life 2. They are effectively an empire that controls Earth with brutality and adumbrating dominance. Even going so far as to create a “suppression field” which terminates any human reproduction by the means of stoping proteins from being formed which are needed to create embryonic stem cells. The Combine are certainly very dangerous; as not only are they flooding Earth with their empire but they are in the process of eliminating any human life remaining.

New Mechanics to the series and more.

In the trailer, we are able to see a few different gameplay mechanics. As we will be playing in VR there appears to be a higher functionality of interacting with the meticulous looking world around Alyx. Early on in the trailer, we see the player shuffling around objects on a shelf in order to reload Alyx’s weapon. This tells us that right off the bat that we will need to be very observant and judicious when gathering ammo. I personally like this approach as it forces us to explore the environment more to find that all-important resource while discovering new sub-areas of the level. Other mechanics could be witnessed as well, such as leaning around objects to get the drop on the Combine or to be able to “hack alien interfaces” too.

From the trailer, we furthermore got a glimpse of the enemies Alyx will be facing and from what we’ve seen they look brilliant. We have witnessed the more recognized enemies such as the Combine soldiers and the infamous Headcrab which looks all the more terrifying this time around—especially when attached to someone—from the design; to the attacks that they try to make on Alyx, I am very excited to see more of the gameplay in due course.

The community will be able to make levels for Half-Life Alyx

“Hammer” Valve’s level creator tool

On the official website, if you scroll down the page, your eyes will be caught by the image shown above. It is detailed below that the software will be updated with not only Half Life-Alyx’s assets but “all of the game’s virtual reality gameplay tools and components”. This is a very enticing feature that I would definitely appreciate to be able to experiment with. Everyone’s various creations are of course able to be played by the community, similar to Far Cry’s map editor, DOOM’s ‘Snapmap’, etc. More Half-Life experiences? Yes Please!

Conclusion

City 17

Half-Life Alyx will be available to play on any of Steam’s VR headsets. These consist of the ‘HTC Vive’, ‘Window’s Mixed Reality’, ‘Occulus Rift’, and of course the ‘Valve Index’. However that last headset is a very important one, as if you have an Index, expect Half-Life Alyx to be free of charge for you to play on release. It doesn’t matter when you’ve bought your Valve Index, it will be seen in your Steam Library on the day. Very exciting isn’t it?

There are countless highly anticipated games releasing in 2020, from Cyberpunk 2077 to the Final Fantasy Seven Remake. It is certainly going to be a big year for gaming. Half-Life: Alyx releases in March 2020, and that date can’t arrive any faster.

Thank you very much for reading and as always, have a lovely day!

Sources

Half-Life official website- https://www.half-life.com/en/alyx/

Half-Life: Alyx Announcement Trailer

About the author

GameSpectra

With an actual name of Gordon; Spectra guarantees to create articles for you which are interesting and memorable. He is obsessed with including figurative language within his articles... he doesn't know why. Spectra is a massive gamer and could talk for hours straight about them, he also likes to be kind and help others, you can find him on Twitter @GameSpectra.