With Half-Life: Alyx out this month, fans are getting the first installment in the series since 2007. But the new VR title from Valve isn’t the Half-Life 2: Episode 3 that fans have been asking for since the studio went quiet on the series more than a decade ago. Alyx is an interquel set between the first Half-Life and Half-Life 2 that tells the story of what the titular hero was up to before Gordon Freeman arrived in City 17. While you may be disappointed that this isn’t exactly Half-Life 3, Valve developers Chris Remo and Robin Walker have told IGN that, hopefully, Alyx will lead to more Half-Life games in the near future.
“Hopefully everyone likes the game, and they want more of it,” Walker said, suggesting that a positive reaction from fans will mean that Valve can make more Half-Life games and sooner than the last one. “I hope we get to build more of it. I hope everyone didn’t hate it and now we have to slink away and spend another 13 years trying to figure out what our next shot at the whole thing is. So yes, I hope you see more from us a lot sooner than last time.”
This isn’t “Half-Life 3 confirmed” in any way, shape, or form but it’s at least a start. While Valve’s output has slowed to a crawl in the last decade, it has made a push to start shipping games again in the last two years, first with the CCG Artifact and now with Alyx as the flagship title for its Valve Index VR headset. If Alyx is a resounding success, it’s possible that the team at Valve will quickly (and happily) jump onto another installment.
“It’s really clear that people at the studio really, really like working in this universe and have really enjoyed making this game. And, like, why wouldn’t you, you know? It makes a lot of sense,” Remo said of the studio’s resurgent enthusiasm for the series. But it’s not like Valve ever completely abandoned the series, at least not behind closed doors. As we’ve learned over the years, several Valve teams have tried to develop new Half-Life games — some getting further along in the development cycle than others — but none have actually seen the light of day until now.
Remo also explained to IGN what it’s like working on a Half-Life game in 2020: “As someone who’s only been [at Valve for] a couple years, it is sort of amazing to come into contact with all this stuff that I recognize so deeply, but see what it means in a modern context. That’s incredibly exciting, and paints all kinds of pictures – they’re all hazy pictures, I don’t know what any of them are, but it feels like people are very excited about the Half-Life universe, for sure.”
Walker echoed these sentiments while speaking with Game Informer before teasing that there may indeed be more to come from Valve in terms of the Half-Life universe: “Half-Life means a lot to us, and it’s been incredibly rewarding to refamiliarize ourselves with its characters, setting, and mechanics. There are Half-Life: Alyx team members who have been at Valve since Half-Life 2, and quite a few who go back to the original Half-Life. There are also people on the team for whom Half-Life: Alyx is their first time working on this series at all – and many of them certainly hope it’s not the last. We absolutely see Half-Life: Alyx as our return to this world, not the end of it.”
Well, that’s about as positive a remark as one could get from Valve concerning its most beloved and elusive franchise. For now, you probably shouldn’t hold your breath for Half-Life 3 or the continuation of Gordon Freeman’s story. But perhaps one day Mr. Freeman will once again “wake up and smell the ashes.”
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.