It’s been 6 years since Valve last released a major video game and nearly over 13 years since the last Half-Life game was released. At long last, it seems that Valve is getting ready to dip its toe back into game development and give the fans what they’ve been begging for years – a new Half-Life game, just not the one you would expect. Instead, Valve is marking their return to Half-Life with the new Virtual Reality title, ‘Half-Life: Alyx’. Read on to find out everything we know about ‘Half-Life: Alyx’.
Half-Life: Alyx Plot: What is It About?
‘Half-Life: Alyx’ is set in the same game world as the rest of the ‘Half-Life’ games, and is intended to serve as prequel to ‘Half-Life 2’. It is sometime between the events of ‘Half-Life’ and ’Half-Life 2, and this time you take control of Alyx Vance, resistance fighter and ally to Gordon Freeman first introduced in ‘Half-Life 2’. The story follows Alyx and her father’s journey as they lay the foundations of the Resistance against the invading alien empire known as the Combine in City 17 that is later led by Gordon Freeman in ‘Half-Life 2’.
The Steam page for the game describes it as follows: “Half-Life: Alyx is Valve’s VR return to the Half-Life series. It’s the story of an impossible fight against a vicious alien race known as the Combine, set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2. Playing as Alyx Vance, you are humanity’s only chance for survival.”
Alyx is something of a fan favorite from the original Half-Life games. Although she was Non Playable Character (NPC) in ‘Half-Life 2’, she accompanied the player throughout much of the game’s journey. Like so many of the other trends we see in gaming today, ‘Half-Life 2’ and Alyx also pioneered dynamic companion Artificial intelligence designed to be as unobtrusive and authentic as possible. The idea was to make Alyx feel like a friend and companion rather than a hindrance or annoyance. Valve largely succeeded in achieving this goal, and Alyx ended up endearing herself to gamers worldwide.
In ‘Half-Life 2’, Alyx is shown to be an adept fighter and hacker, even able to hack Combine technology with her multitool. Her mother, Azian Vance died in the infamous Lambda Incident that opened the portal for extraterrestrial organisms to invade Earth. Her father and Black Mesa scientist, Eli Vance tragically dies at the end of ‘Half-Life 2’. Wherever Alyx goes, she is followed by her loyal pet Dog, which is not a dog at all but rather a quadruped robot built for her by Eli Vance.
This is not the first time the Half-Life franchise has put the player in the shoes of a different protagonist. While both ‘Half-Life’ and ‘Half-Life 2’ feature Gordon Freeman as the primary protagonist, the expansion ‘Half-Life: Blue Shift’ had you play as the affable security guard Barney, and ‘Half-Life: Opposing Force’ follows the story of an unnamed soldier sent into the Black Mesa facility.
Half-Life: Alyx Gameplay
Like most Half-Life games, ‘Half-Life: Alyx’ is all about exploration, solving puzzles, pioneering First Person action gameplay and an engrossing narrative that ties it all together. However, this time around the player will be doing all this in Virtual Reality (VR).
Players can use the VR interface to dig through shelves and drawers for supplies, use interfaces such as keypads and engage in visceral combat, which is just as well since the harrowing headcrabs will be making a return in Half-Life: Alyx’. You will very likely need to wrench a few off your face after recovering from the paralyzing shock of seeing one leap ten feet and grab onto your face in immersive VR.
Alyx will also sport her trademark Gravity Gloves in the new game, which should function very similarly to Gordon Freeman’s Gravity Gun in ‘Half-Life 2’. This means that you will be able to lift, pull and throw certain objects in VR. Movement itself has three distinct options – teleportation from point A to point B, shifting smoothly between two points and regular analog walking and running controls. Finally, in a first for the Half-Life franchise, ‘Half-Life: Alyx’ will feature a fully voiced protagonist for the first tie ever, a marked departure from the taciturn Gordon Freeman.
To make a Half-Life VR experience possible, Valve employed the use of its brand new Source 2 Engine. Besides modern graphics support and VR functionality, Source 2 also allows for fully user-generated VR environments for players of ‘Half-Life: Alyx’ to share and explore.
Half-Life: Alyx Developers: Who Are The People Behind It?
‘Half-Life: Alyx’ is being developed and published by Washington-based American video game developer Valve Corporation. The development team itself is the largest one Valve has ever had, and it is led by veterans of the Half-Life franchise.
While Alyx was voiced by Merle Dandridge in ‘Half-Life 2’, here she is voiced by actress Ozioma Akagha, best known for games such as ‘Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus’ and ‘Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst’. The mysterious puppet master known simply as the G-Man makes a return in ‘Half-Life: Alyx’ as well, and Michael Shapiro lends his voice to the character once again. Other cast members from the previous games including Tony Todd and Ellen McClain also reprise their voiceover roles as Alien Vortigaunts and voice of the Combine Overwatch respectively.
Unfortunately, due to his untimely death in 2017, Robert Guillaume will not return as the voice of Alyx’s father Eli Vance. Instead, the character of Eli will be voiced by actor James Moses Black, best known for his role as Donald Simms in the crime drama series ‘24: Legacy’.
Although original ‘Half-Life’ writer Marc Laidlaw left Valve in 2016, he did consult with the development team of ‘Half-Life: Alyx’ in a limited capacity.
Half-Life: Alyx Release Date: When And Where Can I Play It?
The release date for ‘Half-Life: Alyx’ has been set for March 2020. The game will launch exclusively on PC and will work with nearly all PC based VR headsets, including Valve’s own Index headset, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S and the various Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) headsets.
The game will charge the full AAA premium and cost $60 at the time of release. However, owners of the new Valve Index headset or its controllers will receive a copy of the game free of charge.
Half-Life: Alyx Trailer
You can watch the trailer for ‘Half-Life: Alyx’ right here:
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