If you’re worried that Half-Life: Alyx is going to be more of a VR tech demo than a full game, we’ve got some good news for you.
“This isn’t a spinoff or a side story, or anything of the sort,” says Half-Life: Alyx programmer Robin Walker in an interview with IGN. “It’s a full-scale campaign – repeated playtest results indicate it’s about the same length as Half-Life 2.”
While Walker says that this is more than a spinoff, it’s worth noting that it sounds like the Half-Life team did not initially intend for Alyx to be a proper Half-Life game.
“We didn’t set out to make a Half-Life game,” says Walker. “Like many game developers, we often use our previous games to experiment with new design ideas. So in this case, we started exploring VR using assets and code from Portal and Half-Life…[O]ur Half-Life experiments, beginning all the way back in The Lab for the Vive, yielded exciting results very quickly. As soon as we had a small section of Half-Life gameplay up & running in VR, with Half-Life 2 assets, and added some rudimentary hand physics/interactions, it was really clear that Half-Life suited VR.”
There are a few things we can take away from all of this. First off, it should be noted that Half-Life 2 was not a particularly long game. The average playthrough was around 13-15 hours. Considering that many VR games typically clock in at under 10 hours, though, that should mean that Alyx will be longer than your average VR experience (assuming that Valve’s internal tests are accurate).
More importantly, though, it sounds like Valve only made Alyx a Half-Life game in the first place because they were confident that they could translate the best of Half-Life into a VR game. So, while Alyx may not quite be the fabled Half-Life 3, it does seem like Valve is approaching the development of this game as if it was a “proper” new Half-Life title and not just a way to further the company’s notable VR and AR ambitions.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.