It’s been 12 years since the last Half-Life game was released in 2007, and just when fans of the iconic franchise seemed to have lost all hope that Valve would ever continue the series, the company took to Twitter to announce a new installment. Half-Life: Alyx has been revealed as the studio’s “flagship” virtual reality game.
The title is an interquel set between the events of the first Half-Life and Half-Life 2, following Alyx’s life before Gordon Freeman arrived in City 17. Alyx is on a mission to save her father, the scientist Eli Vance, who’s been kidnapped by the evil Combine.
The game will feature a new weapon inspired by the series’ Gravity Gun called “Grabbity Gloves,” which allows you to pull items in the environment towards you. You’ll also have a handy pistol for dispatching Combine soldiers and headcrab zombies. Judging from the gameplay footage thus far, these mechanics seem to put the Valve Index VR headset and knuckles to really good use.
Valve confirmed that the game will be “about the same length as Half-Life 2,” meaning that it could take you about 13-15 hours to beat it. That’s impressive considering most VR games clock in under 10 hours. On top of plenty of firefights with the Combine, Half-Life: Alyx will also feature horror sequences.
“Horror is part of the franchise, and through playtesting, we feel like we’ve gained some confidence about where to draw this line,” said Valve’s Tristan Reidford during a Reddit AMA in January. “Some of our gorier visuals tend to evoke a grim fascination rather than revulsion or panic, and apart from myself, we’ve hardly ever seen anyone nope out of a playtest, even during the creepier sections.”
Rumors of a Half-Life VR game had been floating around the internet for months before the announcement. Until the announcements, whispers of a new Half-Life game would have been met with a healthy amount of skepticism after the myriad rumors and “leaks” that have found their way on Reddit and other forums over the years.
The return of Half-Life is part of a push within Valve to start shipping games again. Once known for its innovative titles, including the physics-based Portal and fast-paced competitive shooter Counter-Strike, game development had taken a backseat at Valve, which has mostly focused on its Steam platform in the last few years. Certainly, a new Half-Life game seemed like a long shot at this point, despite the fact that many devs have confirmed that there have been several attempts to make a new installment.
Here’s everything else we know about the game so far:
Half-Life: Alyx Release Date
Half-Life: Alyx will launch on March 23. It will be compatible with the Valve Index VR headset as well as the Windows Mixed Reality set, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift and Quest. The game will cost $60 but will be free for Valve Index users.
Half-Life: Alyx Trailer
Ahead of the game’s launch, Valve has released three new gameplay trailers that give fans a rundown of the different mechanics in the game. The first video details how traversal will work in the game as well as first-person shooting and weapons upgrades:
The second video gives you a closer look at City 17 as well as some of the puzzle-solving in the game:
The third video focuses on combat with the Combine, which is a bit more difficult than knocking out headcrab zombies. You’ll also get a good idea of how the cover-based shooting works:
Watch the announcement trailer below: