Two years and nine months after announcing it would build three (3) full-length VR games — a number that Valve Software has historically never been able to count to before, and one of the most exciting announcements in VR’s short history so far — the company has today announced Half-Life: Alyx, the first new game in the acclaimed Half-Life series in well over a decade.
We don’t currently have any details beyond the tweet from Valve above, which appears to be the first tweet from a new, Twitter-verified Valve Software account established in June. But clearly, we’ll be learning more on Thursday, presumably from this social media account, at 10am PT.
But Alyx almost certainly refers to Half-Life 2 protagonist Gordon Freeman’s closest ally Alyx Vance, who was last seen... who am I kidding, I played Half-Life 2: Episode 2 back in 2007 when it first came out, I gave up on ever seeing another game in the series years ago after, and if I’m just looking up the synopsis on Wikipedia I might as well share it with you too? I do remember it being a huge, emotional cliffhanger. Dammit, Valve, I was finally coming to terms with this never happening.
“Valve can’t count to three”
Despite being some of the most influential and critically acclaimed PC games ever made, Valve has famously never finished either of its Half-Life supposed trilogies of games. After Half-Life and Half-Life 2, the company created Half-Life: Episode 1 and Half-Life: Episode 2, but no third game in the series. The closest we’ve come to knowing anything about where Half-Life was headed was this thinly veiled fanfic from former Valve writer Marc Laidlaw.
Valve went on to create additional franchises that would also refrain from becoming trilogies, including Team Fortress 2, Portal 2, Left 4 Dead 2, and Dota 2.
There’s still plenty of room for Half-Life: Alyx to disappoint, particularly if Valve’s definition of a full-length, flagship game differs from what you’d expect. But Valve has incentives to do more than simply create a conclusion to the Half-Life saga. In June, we reviewed the Valve Index, perhaps the highest-grade VR headset yet with impressive controllers that let you grip virtual objects with your individual fingers, and one that could use some purpose-built games to justify its existence.
Perhaps, like it successfully did with Half-Life 2 and Steam back in 2004, the company will tie this game specifically to its own VR headset to kickstart adoption of the platform. Honestly, VR could use an extra kick in the pants either way.
When pinged for comment on Half-Life: Alyx, Valve sent me a completely unrelated press release, probably entirely by coincidence: “CS:GO - OPERATION SHATTERED WEB AVAILABLE NOW.” Thanks, I guess?
Check back on Thursday for more, possibly including whether a rumored March 2020 release date is real. Or if you want to be potentially spoiled, Ars Technica claims to have sources confirming that Alyx will turn out to be a Half-Life 2 prequel, with magnetic gloves for you to wield.
Update, 8:11 PM ET: With Ars Technica link.