Half-Life: Alyx is basically practice for more Half-Life games

Half-Life: Alyx is just a stepping stone to more Half-Life games.

@DeekeTweak
Published Fri, Nov 22 2019 1:56 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 11:46 AM CST

Half-Life: Alyx is just the beginning of Half-Life's comeback story, and Valve reveals why they chose to make a VR-exclusive game rather than jump right into Half-Life 3.

Half-Life: Alyx is basically practice for more Half-Life games | TweakTown.com

The new Half-Life game isn't what we expected. It's a VR-only Half-Life 2 prequel that aims to be virtual reality's killer app and justify Valve's massive investment into the still-fringe platform. But it also serves another big role: Half-Life: Alyx is basically a practice run for new Half-Life projects. It's a way to get Valve back into the groove of the franchise, all while learning new things about Source 2 like optimizing graphics, textures, and FPS mechanics. A lot of what Valve learns from Half-Life: Alyx can translate into other Half-Life games, even if they're not VR projects.

In a recent interview with Geoff Keighley, Valve programmers talked about how Half-Life: Alyx is a stepping stone to new things. The team might not be ready to work on Half-Life 3 just yet, but this new VR project will help pave the way to that magical threequel.

"Back in 2016, when we started this, Half-Life 3 was a terrifyingly daunting prospect, right? I think to some extent VR was a way we could fool ourselves into believing we had a way to do this," said Valve's Robin Walker.

"By starting with VR then trying to think about Half-Life and how it worked, and playtesting those experiences, you're immediately in a space where we have something we understand well, like Half-Life's core gameplay, and then a new platform with new prospects and new possibilities.

"We can do that translation [to VR] and then watch people play it. So within a week or two, we're starting to learn. So it was really easy not try and think about of the big picture of like 'we're making Half-Life 3' and just figure out what people enjoy in this and then let's make forward progress."

This progress isn't just limited to VR. Of course, Half-Life: Alyx's development would mostly translate to more VR games, but the systems, textures, designs, and overall mechanics could still be molded for a traditional mouse and keyboard setup.

Valve knows that VR is a niche market. They hope to accelerate headset sales with Half-Life: Alyx, but they know most gamers still play on PC. And of course have assertions from Valve that more Half-Life games are on the way--there's no way that the lucrative IP would be locked to such a small addressable market.

Other fun tidbits about the interview: Valve resurrected other franchises in VR, possibly even Left 4 Dead 3.

"There's projects we've worked on in the past 9 years that people never heard about and that never shipped," said Valve's David Speyrer.

"All along the way in building Source 2 we tried various games in different franchises. Each of them kind of moved the engine forward in some way and explored some ideas, and they were all back-burnered for good reasons I think. They were more like milestones along the way to get where we are with Half-Life: Alyx.

"I think it'd be really fun to delve back into those [games]."

Half-Life: Alyx is due out March 2020 exclusively for SteamVR headsets, including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Valve Index, and Windows Mixed Reality HMDs.

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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