Valve's new VR-exclusive Half-Life game promises to deliver tons of freedom, reactivity, and immersion.
The reveal trailers and gameplay footage has already show just how interactive Half-Life: Alyx is. Gamers can pick items off of shelves and throw them at enemies, scour nearby ruins for materials for makeshift high-tech weaponry, and even search drawers for ammo. Everything looks realistic and more importantly reactive to what players actually do, throwing them into chaotic gunfights where twitch reflexes are just as important as Portal-esque experimentation and environment manipulation (those gravity gloves look amazingly fun).
Now in a recent Reddit AmA, Valve reveals more pieces of the dynamic puzzle that is Half-Life: Alyx. VR brings a new dimension of immersion by simply virtue of the medium itself, but the new Half-Life game was built specifically for the platform and should be virtual reality's killer app while also representing the culmination of Valve's SteamVR efforts.
There's still a lot we don't know about Half-Life: Alyx, but here's some of the tidbits Valve dropped in the AmA:
- 'Mantling' (climbing/clambering) is the main method for overcoming obstacles, jumping is very rarely used.
- Teleport-based movement scheme based on player input
- Weapons only need one hand to hold, but can be steadied with two hands for more accuracy
- Free hand can be used to interact with world as you shoot
- Easy weapon selection allows for on-the-fly switching
- Massive overhaul to Hammer in Source 2 allows for layered maps, offering much more density to areas
- Barnacles are still a major threat in VR, but they don't pull you up like they did in previous Half-Life games
- Some creature enemies will react to sound
- Lots of accessibility options added including left-handed mode, and work underway on a one-handed mode
- Half-Life: Alyx fully supports seated play
- Gamers can grab and manipulate tons of objects in the environment
Fully integrated mod support will also add a whole new dimension of customized replayability. Modders can use the new Hammer tools to craft special maps and create all kinds of crazy scenarios using the new creatures, Combine soldier AI, and maybe even customized weapons to boot. It'll be like Super Mario Maker but set in the Half-Life universe with the immense power of VR.
Also remember Half-Life: Alyx is just the beginning. Valve plans to make more Half-Life games in the future, and promises to communicate directly with fans when these plans are underway.
Half-Life: Alyx releases in March 2020 and is exclusive to VR platforms. It'll be playable on any headset that supports Steam VR, including Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality headsets, and Valve's first-party Index VR HMD system.