Half-Life: Alyx Takes Place Between Half-Life 1 And Half-Life 2 [Update]

Half-Life: Alyx Takes Place Between Half-Life 1 And Half-Life 2 [Update]
Image: Valve

Half-Life: Alyx, you might be dismayed to learn, is definitely not Half-Life 3. But it is a new “full-length” Half-Life game, Valve said today, and it’ll be out in March.

In a press release, Valve said the game—first announced earlier this week to surprise, confusion, and memes from fans—has been “designed from the ground up for virtual reality,” but is still very much a Half-Life game in that it features “world exploration, puzzle solving, visceral combat, and an intricately woven story that connects it all with the characters iconic to the Half-Life universe.”

It’s set between the events of Half-Life 1 and 2 and stars Alyx, as the title suggests.

“Alyx Vance and her father Eli secretly mount the resistance to the brutal occupation of Earth by a mysterious alien race known as The Combine,” reads the game’s description. “As Alyx, players take the fight to the Combine to save the future of humanity.”

Image: Valve

Despite ostensibly being a killer app for Valve’s own VR headset, the Valve Index, Half-Life: Alyx will be compatible with “all PC-based VR headsets” when it releases in March 2020. Screenshots thus far depict Alyx having hands, which is something that was technically already canon, but now her hands are your hands, and you get to use items like the enticingly named “gravity gloves.” If they are not somehow involved in a game of fetch with Dog, I’ll eat a Vortigaunt.

Update, 1:15 PM ET: In an interview with IGN, Valve designer and programmer Robin Walker said that some former members of Firewatch studio Campo Santo—hired by Valve last year ostensibly to continue working on their next game, In The Valley of Gods—are working on Half-Life: Alyx.

“Some members of the former Campo Santo studio are on the team, and they’ve brought the storytelling skill they honed in Firewatch to bear on Half-Life: Alyx,” said Walker. “But in that regard, they’re like the rest of us at Valve—people who played Half-Life 1 & 2, took parts of it into their own games, honed those parts into something even better, and are now bringing that knowledge back to what inspired them in the first place.”

The current status of In The Valley of Gods is unclear.

Walker also said that Alyx is roughly the same length as Half-Life 2, which puts it at around 13-15 hours long.

Meanwhile, The Game Awards host and Death Stranding main character Geoff Keighley released a video interview with members of the Half-Life: Alyx team in which they discuss the game’s origins as an exploration of VR mechanics (rather than setting out to create a new Half-Life, specifically) and why it’s not Half-Life 3.

“Back in 2016 when we started this, Half-Life was just terrifying. So Half-Life 3 was a terrifying, daunting prospect,” said Walker. “And I think, to some extent, VR was a way we could fool ourselves into believing we had a way to do this… The way the gravity gun helped us in Half-Life 2, it became the tentpole you could wrap so much around. So VR became this thing we could wrap everything around. Whereas Half-Life 3, if it’s like ‘Tomorrow you’re working on Half-Life 3,’ [then] it’s like ‘Oh god.’”

During the interview, Valve also confirmed that Valve veterans like Portal 2 writers Erik Wolpaw and Jay Pinkerton—both of whom departed Valve back in 2017—have been working on Half-Life: Alyx, as well.

“It was really easy to recruit for this project, surprisingly enough,” said Valve level designer Dario Casali with a chuckle.


  • yet still no mention of when the Index is available to purchase in Aus 🙁

    Im really hoping that delayed March release is because they are trying to sort out their international distribution because im not willing to import an index as they dont have international warranty and after the debacle of v1.0 knuckles failing I dont want to risk it for a biscuit .

    I wanna play this as intended not with those neolithic wands on my OG vive

    • I’ve been copping flak on reddit for suggesting it is delayed here in Aus until April, It’s all time zone auto correction! they rage, despite Steam never having done that before, for any release.

  • “Back in 2016 when we started this, Half-Life was just terrifying. So Half-Life 3 was a terrifying, daunting prospect,”

    Probably would be less daunting if they started it in 2004… Valve has no one to blame but themselves, and Gaben’s snack fund

    • I dunno man, Gabes snack fund aside I can kinda see where they are coming from.

      They are responsible for one of the most iconic FPS games in PC history and they want its legacy to be just as important as the first which I think they achieved very well the second game.

      Similar to Half life decay, HL:Alyx feels like they are testing the waters with stuff they have been working on for a while to determine the feedback before committing to the games 3rd story arc. They have been working on the sequels since 2004 but its never been what they wanted it to be so they kept working away trying new things as we saw with the episodic saga.

      I still believe HL3 is on its way but how long it will be will be determined partly by the success of this game, sequels can destroy franchises so id prefer they do it perfect or not at all and I think thats their logic too.

  • The amount of months we’ve been dicked around by Valve is how many years I’m going to wait to buy this.

    Have a Vive on my desk, so I’m not scared of the cost. Sick of Valve treating us like we’re lesser to americans.

  • Still doesn’t justify the cost of a VR headset I’ll hardly ever use… and probably don’t have space for in my office anyway, unless I feel like punching breakable things.

    I think I’ll have to experience this one through let’s plays …

      • I’m very curious, do you know why HL2 made you feel sick? Personally I feel a little headache-y in a lot of first person games if I play for 2 hours plus in a single sitting (so in general it’s never been a major issue, and playing on a friend’s PSVR has interestingly offered no issues, so I’m not sensitive or anything), but none of the Valve titles have had that problem for me, even with just the default FoV.

        Is it an FoV issue or something else? The only significant change I can think of between HL1 and HL2 is the movement and default FoV settings, but I would have thought the movement in 1 would actually be worse than that of 2 being rather floaty and I assume the FoV could be changed to taste as well.

        • It’s a form of simulator sickness. From what I understand the game looks real enough to fool my brain into thinking it’s real but my inner ear tells me its not. As a result my body thinks it’s been poisoned so I get nauseous and want to throw up. It happens quite quickly, I know within a few minutes that something is wrong and I’ve never made it longer than 20 minutes in a game where it happens.

          Only happens in FPS games and usually in ones that are higher realism. Although that’s not the a guarantee. HL2, FEAR, L4D, DN4 have all set me off. Latest Doom, BF series, CS and CD:GO don’t. Tried FOV changes, head-bob on/off, basically everything that’s tweakable with no luck.

          • Interesting, I’ve not heard of that before. I’m sorry you can’t play these games.

            If it’s associated with realism have you tried turning the settings down to ‘potato’? Just a thought, but maybe lower poly counts, uglier textures and poor framerates might feel less realistic to your eye and better match what your inner ear expects from a game?

          • Kinda defeats the purpose when you can’t really enjoy the game because the graphics get so bad. But yes, I did drop quality lower, but not to the “flat polys” type settings without it helping.

          • Fair enough. That’s a bummer, really strange that it only happens in certain titles within the same genre, it’d be really interesting to know if some devs have tried to plan for or minimise discomfort like that and how they did if they did so.

          • It’s something that I find boggling myself. It’s not just games of the same genre, it’s games with the same engine. I could understand if every quake engine game (for example) caused problems. But some do and some don’t. Again, I suspect it’s a visual realism thing. HL2 looks real *enough* whereas CS:GO still looks like a game. But I have no way to confirm that.

            I’d love to see an more research into this, and would happily volunteer as a test subject but I suspect the target audience with the issue is low enough that it’s just not worth their time.

    • This hurts me so much. The trailer is, apart from a noticeably recast Eli Vance (I know his voice actor died, but I still miss that voice. Also the model doesn’t look right to me, but the voice thing is my real problem) almost exactly what I was hoping for (bar the unrealistic wish of a traditional HL3, but I didn’t expect that), I don’t think I could be more impressed. I’ve watched the trailer 5 times today, and I’ll still watch it again tomorrow.

      Add on to that Half-Life being one of my all-time favourites and HL2: E2 being my absolute favourite game of all time and I almost feel like I have to buy a VR headset, and a PC capable of supporting it (this was something I had to do at some point for non-videogame reasons, but still). I can’t justify a purchase like that even as a hobbyist because I just have no interest in any other VR title at all, but this is Half-Life – my favourite franchise, a good part of the reason I play games at all and a series uniquely tailored to my individual tastes in a way most games today just aren’t.

      Maybe I can find a cheap second hand Vive somewhere…
      Until then either my wallet will hate me, or I’ll be hating my wallet until I can play it. Goddamn it looks so good.

      • The second I watched the trailer I was resigned to dropping an unfortunate amount of coin on a shiny new setup. This thing may just be successful off the back of a combo of nostalgia and ageing players with cashflow to point at it.

  • It may not be the Half-Life we wanted, but seriously, a fully-fleshed, full-length VR game? That’s exciting, and yet another reason I’m planning on buying a Rift.

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