While Half-Life: Alyx is not the sequel fans of Valve’s classic Half-Life series have long been clamoring for, the developer assured those that are still waiting for Half-Life 3 that there’s more to come.
In an interview with Game Informer, Valve developer Robin Walker said that Half-Life: Alyx is just the studio’s first step back into one of the most critically-acclaimed franchises in the history of video games.
“There are Half-Life: Alyx team members who have been at Valve since Half-Life 2, and quite a few who go back to the original Half-Life,” Walker said.
“There are also people on the team for whom Half-Life: Alyx is their first time working on this series at all — and many of them certainly hope it’s not the last. We absolutely see Half-Life: Alyx as our return to this world, not the end of it.”
Valve assured fans that the Half-Life series does mean a lot to the developer, but added that “it’s been incredibly rewarding to refamiliarize ourselves with its characters, setting, and mechanics” for Half-Life: Alyx.
While many Half-Life fans would prefer that a return to the series be a traditional FPS on the PC, Valve felt that a VR entry would still be a good continuation to the classic series.
“Half-Life’s set of mechanics was a surprisingly natural fit for VR, even before any of the necessary work was done to deeply integrate them into the medium. It was very clear from those first experiments that VR was going to be very fertile ground for Half-Life,” said Walker.
While a Half-Life VR experience will be something entirely new, Walker said that Half-Life: Alyx would still be familiar enough to fans of the series and assured that “the game feels like Half-Life because it is Half-Life”
“The sensation of taking aim by physically positioning your hand in space relative to your eye is very different to performing an identical action with your mouse or controller. This all spirals out into every aspect of mechanics design, level design, pacing, and even things like frequency of ammo pickups and combat tuning. So there’s a lot in this game that Half-Life players will deeply understand from the start, but they will be experiencing them in a radically new context – as did we,” added Walker.
For fans looking to take the plunge into VR just to get their Half-Life fix, Valve says that Half-Life: Alyx is “a critical part of the larger [Half-Life] story, and it does push that story forward.”
“Half-Life: Alyx is a full-fledged entry in the Half-Life series, both in terms of the sheer amount of content as well as the importance and substance of its narrative relative to the rest of the series,” said Walker.
Since the game takes place before the return of Gordon Freeman in Half-Life 2, Valve advised players to refresh themselves on the events of Episode 2 before starting Half-Life: Alyx.
Half-Life: Alyx will be released on March 23.