Half-Life: Alyx Developer Would Love to See a Non-VR Fan Remake

It seems Valve feels a non-VR mod of Half-Life: Alyx is inevitable, but would such a remake be worth it?

Half-Life
Photo: Valve

Half-Life: Alyx may prove to be one of the best games of 2020, but its VR hardware requirements mean that many of us won’t get a chance to play it for quite some time (if at all). This has left some fans wondering if a more traditional, non-VR version of the game will ever be released.

While it doesn’t sound like such a version of Half-Life: Alyx is in Valve’s official plans, Half-Life game designer Robin Walker says they wouldn’t mind if fans pursue that project.

“I so want them to do that!” says Walker regarding a possible “2D” mod of Half-Life: Alyx in an interview with Eurogamer. “I’m so excited to see that! There are a lot of people on the team who have asked this question many times. It’s going to happen, and I can’t wait.”

While it sounds like there are at least some people at Valve who welcome the almost inevitable 2D mod of Half-Life: Alyx, Walker seems to think that part of the value of such a mod may be to showcase why Half-Life: Alyx needs to be played in VR in the first place.

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“To some extent, everything we just described is about ‘What does VR as a platform and experience bring to the table?'” Walker asks. “And if that is not significant, then it’s not interesting? We believe it’s significant and interesting. And there’s no better way than to play this game in non-VR, I think, than to experience that.”

Walker also acknowledges that there are “a bunch of people on the team probably will be super unhappy” with him for wishing for such a mod but realizes that the team “can’t stop them” despite the fact that such an endeavor would be “a lot of work.” As we’ve seen in the case of the Half-Life remake, Black Mesa, though, there are almost certainly fans out there who are willing to put in that much work.

The question now is “Would such a mod be worth playing?” The answer to that question depends on a few factors.

If a hypothetical non-VR remake of Half-Life: Alyx was completely remade to accommodate non-VR gameplay, storytelling, and control concepts, then yeah, it would probably actually be a lot of fun. The problem is that the merits of Half-Life: Alyx are so closely tied into the experience of playing it via VR that we’re not really sure it’s possible to properly translate it to a more traditional style of play. You might even think that elements of the game look dull if you’re just watching someone else play it in VR.

Still, considering the sizeable barrier to entry that currently prevents many people from playing Half-Life: Alyx and finally getting to experience a new Half-Life adventure after all these years, we also imagine that such a fan remake is going to happen at some point.