For other uses, see Vance (disambiguation).
|Function(s) / Belongings|
|Rank / Occupation||
Box-like jewel attached to a necklace
Brown (with red streaks)
|Chronological and political information|
Alyx Vance is the deuteragonist of Half-Life 2 and its Episodes. The daughter of former Black Mesa scientist Eli Vance, she is portrayed as a woman in her mid-twenties, and is a prominent figure in the Resistance campaign against the rule of the Combine.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Weapons
- 3 Related Achievements
- 4 Behind the scenes
- 5 Trivia
- 6 Gallery
- 7 List of appearances
- 8 References
- 9 External links
As a young child, Alyx lived in the dormitories within the confines of the Black Mesa Research Facility along with her father Eli and her mother Azian, while Eli was working at the Sector C. When the Black Mesa Incident occurred, Eli managed to escape along with Alyx and a family picture, while Azian was killed in the incident. During the course of the incident, the G-Man was instrumental in rescuing Alyx, despite the objections of unnamed naysayers. Alyx was apparently too young to remember this, and although Eli witnessed it, he never shared the story with her.
Alyx was raised by Eli in the world controlled by the Combine, likely at Black Mesa East much of the time. During this time, Alyx was also on good terms with Isaac Kleiner, referring to him as "Uncle Kleiner" in an affectionate portrait she once offered him. During Alyx's childhood, Eli used scrap metal to create Dog, a sentient robot designed to protect her, making him physically powerful, intelligent and with an in-built sixth sense so that he could always know Alyx's whereabouts. Although the initial model was a mere meter high, Alyx added new parts to Dog over the time, making him a towering 2.5 meters high at the time of Half-Life 2.
As Alyx reached adulthood, she began working with the Resistance. As one of the core members of the City 17 branch, her contributions mostly included assisting Kleiner and Barney Calhoun in helping Citizens escape the city to Black Mesa East through the old Canals, as well as helping Kleiner, her father and Judith Mossman establish a teleport connection between Black Mesa East and Kleiner's Lab. She is working with this at the time of Half-Life 2.
Alyx is arguably the most important character in Half-Life 2, as she helps Gordon Freeman more frequently and directly than any other character. Her first appearance is in the first chapter of the game, Point Insertion, in a scene where Gordon has been intercepted by Civil Protection units while he is still an unarmed civilian, due to a miscount detection. Alyx rushes in the room and takes down the CPs by herself (although this is not explicitly shown on-screen). Subsequently, she escorts Gordon to Kleiner's Lab, there they meet up with Barney and Kleiner. After Gordon puts on his HEV suit, they enter the teleport room to be teleported to Eli Vance's lab in Black Mesa East. However, the two unintentionally part ways after Kleiner's teleportation device malfunctions, forcing Gordon to continue through City 17 on his own.
When Gordon finally arrives in Black Mesa East, he is welcomed by Alyx and her father. Later, she gives Gordon the Gravity Gun and demonstrates its use. Alyx is also shown having a heated argument with Dr. Judith Mossman, a hostility that appears justified as Mossman is revealed a traitor in the chapter Entanglement, where Gordon helps Alyx search Nova Prospekt for her captured father.
In the chapter Anticitizen One, she fights alongside Gordon through a section of City 17 during the armed uprising but they are again separated when Alyx is kidnapped by Overwatch Soldiers while scouting an escape route from a rooftop vantage point. They are reunited later in the chapter Dark Energy, when Gordon reaches Breen's office in the Citadel. There she provides indirect assistance to Gordon during the final confrontation with Dr. Breen in the Citadel's dark fusion reactor. Alyx also seems to have made peace with Dr. Mossman after seeing her turn on Dr. Breen and release Gordon Freeman, Eli and Alyx herself from their imprisonment.
In the ending scene of Half-Life 2, Alyx is with Gordon at the time of the Dark Energy explosion. While the G-Man saves Gordon from the enormous blast, Alyx is apparently left behind, frozen in time with one arm shielding her eyes.
Half-Life 2: Episode One
Alyx manages to survive, being rescued by Vortigaunts, who also free Gordon from the influence of his "employer", the G-Man; after being teleported away at the foot of the Citadel and briefly revisiting it to postpone the destruction of the Citadel Core, Alyx and Gordon stick together for most of Episode One, finally getting to the exit from City 17 and jumping on the last Resistance train wagon heading out of the City just as the Citadel explodes.
Half-Life 2: Episode Two
Alyx appears in Episode Two throughout the game, and is almost always with Gordon. She once again rescues Gordon at the beginning of the game by using the Gravity Gun to free him from the remains of their crashed train, which fell off a bridge that was destroyed because of the Citadel explosion at the end of Episode One.
After making a first communication with White Forest, a large Resistance base, she is severely injured by a Hunter, but Gordon and a Vortigaunt manage to steal Antlion extract and use it to save her. During the process of reviving her, the G-Man reappears and informs Gordon that the reason Alyx remained alive during the events of Half-Life 2 and its expansions is because he "plucked" her from Black Mesa before the Resonance Cascade destroyed the facility, ignoring the orders from his superiors - that she was a mere child and of no practical use. He tells Gordon to escort her to White Forest safely, telling Alyx to relay the words "prepare for unforeseen consequences" to her father. She then accompanies Gordon on their journey to get to White Forest. Throughout the journey, she helps Gordon at many points, by providing sniping support for him using a mounted Combine sniper rifle as he makes his way through a Zombie-infested industrial complex to get to the Muscle Car or by using her gun on enemies while he is driving.
At the end of the game, her father Eli is killed by an Advisor before she and Gordon get into a chopper to go looking for Dr. Mossman. While she and Gordon watch, helpless, pinned down onto the walls by the Advisors' psionic powers, Dog jumps through the roof and attacks the Advisor before it can do the same thing to Alyx and Gordon, severely injuring it causing both Advisors to flee. Alyx cries over Eli's body as Gordon passes out and the credits roll. Her full reaction to that loss and its influence on the subsequent events is yet to be revealed.
In 2009, a video involving Gabe Newell and two interpreters discussing deafness and video games with a small audience of hearing-impaired people was posted on YouTube. In it Newell suggests that Alyx had a crush on a hearing-impaired Resistance member and that she taught Dog how to sign so she could practice and easily communicate with him. Then this person went away from Alyx to fight the Combine someplace else, and Alyx and Dog started signing with each other when they wanted to communicate without making noise or without other people knowing. This person would eventually come back in the next Half-Life game, as a new gameplay and Source engine feature aimed at providing better support for hearing-impaired players.
Alyx has brown, short hair with streaks of red (a reminiscence of her original fully red hair,) a headband and green eyes. She wears worn-out clothes, as most of the Half-Life 2 characters: a brown leather jacket with the right sleeve attached to the rest with duct tape, jeans and brown work boots, with a grey hooded sweater bearing the Black Mesa logo, with the words "Black Mesa" under it. She has black fingerless rappelling gloves and a tensor bandage around her right hand (it is unknown if it is for the looks or if she was previously hurt). She also wears a green belt where her gun and EMP Tool are attached; purple underwear can also be seen from behind. Around her neck is a little box-like jewel, made out of wood or metal, which apparently belonged to her mother, according to the Vance family picture. A nevus can also be seen at the stem of her neck. At the beginning of Episode One, she gains a small scar above her right eyebrow, presumably inflicted at the end of Half-Life 2 and having been dug "out of the rubble". During Episode Two, her jacket is damaged when the Hunter wounds her, also staining her undershirt with blood.
Personality and skills
Alyx is a skilled hacker: she is able to operate and manipulate Combine-based objects such as turrets with the help of her gear, and also wields an EMP Tool used to perform a variety of tasks.
She is also very proficient with a pistol and in unarmed combat, single-handedly defeating the five Metrocops who almost catch Gordon during his escape at the start of Half-Life 2, and helps fight alongside Gordon briefly during the chapters Entanglement and Anticitizen One in Half-Life 2. In Episode One, Alyx accompanies Gordon for most of the game and demonstrates fighting skills previously unseen, using a shotgun and kicking and kneeing off Zombies when they get too close.
Despite Alyx's friendly nature, she shows some hostility towards Dr. Mossman because of Mossman's somewhat patronizing attitude towards her, as well as Mossman's interest in her father. At the end of Half-Life 2, this hostility has seemingly vanished, when Dr. Mossman helps to free Alyx and her father from the clutches of Dr. Breen.
Alyx is also a rather cheerful person, showing some sense of humor, evidenced by the jokes she makes about various events. For instance, she playfully mocks Gordon's silence at the start of Half-Life 2, telling him "Man of few words, aren't you?". Another example can be experienced in the chapter Lowlife of Episode One, where she and Gordon navigate a series of Zombie-infested tunnels. During lulls in combat she imitates a Zombie growl to scare the player, then will laugh and say "Gotcha!" when they find out it is her. She also attempts another "joke" shortly after when entering a Combine troop train. She spots a dead Overwatch Soldier with a Headcrab over its head and tries to lighten the situation, naming it a "Zombine".
Alyx is also a very sensitive person, giving some heart and realism to the series. She does not believe her eyes when she sees the state of the Citadel inside, is affected by the Stalkers' fate and behavior at the start of the Episode One chapter Lowlife, and cries over the loss of her father at the end of Episode Two.
Relationship with Gordon Freeman
Although Alyx was a child at the time of the Black Mesa Incident (at which point Gordon was 27 years old), Gordon's almost two decades long stasis after Half-Life has more or less erased any age gap between the two.
- Eli Vance makes a teasing comment when him, Gordon and Alyx meet up in Black Mesa East: "There is nothing Gordon can't handle... with the possible exception of you!". Alyx, embarrassed, utters "Dad, please!". This is followed by a moment of awkward silence, and is also the first time such a relationship is mentioned in-game.
- The chapter Entanglement contains several scenes, mainly when the two are forced to part ways for some reason, with Alyx becoming pensive with worry and telling Gordon to be careful.
- In the chapter Dark Energy, Alyx longingly looks down upon Gordon when he descends down the elevator, to the final confrontation. She puts her hand to the glass, and solemnly says "Do your worst, Gordon, but, be careful."
Half-Life 2: Episode One
Continuing this theme, Episode One contains several situations where this relationship is developed:
- In the first chapter, Dog finds Gordon under a pile of rubble, and Alyx rushes at him and ardently embraces him, telling him how worried she was about him. However, she soon recovers her wits, acts embarrassed and changes the subject to more pressing concerns.
- Like the chapter Dark Energy elevator scene in the previous game, the chapter Direct Intervention contains at least one scene with Gordon going down an elevator and Alyx telling him to "hurry back". Additionally, a developer commentary given during this scene verifies that a Gordon/Alyx relationship was indeed intended.
- In the chapter Lowlife, when forced to go through sewage-like sludge, Alyx comments on Gordon's HEV suit and jokingly asks "Got room for two in there?".
- In the chapter Urban Flight, having bridged a gap between two ruins (and given Gordon his trademark crowbar), Barney Calhoun additionally states "Go on across, Gordon. She's waiting for you, you lucky dog, you!".
- After Gordon has defeated the Strider at the end of the chapter Exit 17, Alyx runs up to him and tells him "You're my new hero!".
Half-Life 2: Episode Two
Their possible relationship is hinted even more obviously in Episode Two:
- In order to resurrect Alyx after the near-fatal attack by a Hunter, Gordon participates in a Vortigaunt ritual wherein his life is "weaved" with hers in a pact that might resemble a marriage (or a Vortigaunt variation) somewhat. After being informed as to the intense struggles Gordon went through to retrieve the Antlion larval extract (which was essential to the ritual), Alyx replies "Yep, that's Gordon."
- After the previous highlighted scene, the Lone Vort, Gordon and a weakened Alyx enter an elevator. Alyx asks Gordon to stand "next to her". This implicates that Alyx feels safer when he is near to her, at least when she is in a disoriented state.
- In the sequence where Gordon must go ahead in order to take down the Autogun, he jumps down a gap, leaving Alyx with the two rebels above. The last thing heard is one of the rebels asking Alyx "So, uh... is that your boyfriend?'". However, her answer cannot be heard (noclipping shows that she is not even answering, and that no answer was scripted at all).
- In his most obvious comment, her father jokes about everyone "doing their part", playing off of Dr. Kleiner's speech to the public about the suppression field being down, along with expressing his desire of having grandkids: when Alyx confirms she and Gordon make a pretty good team, her father answers "That's good, because now that the suppression field is down, we all have to do our part." Alyx, embarrassed, yells "Dad!" at him, as she did earlier in Black Mesa East, after which Eli retorts "Can you blame an old man for wanting grandkids?".
In Half-Life 2 and its expansions, Alyx is seen with her unique weapon, an automatic pistol, known simply as "Alyx's Gun" (from its entity name,
weapon_alyxgun). This gun is not available to Gordon, although it can be obtained via the console. However, late in Episode One, Alyx grabs a shotgun and wields it throughout the hospital. In both Half-Life 2 episodes, she also uses an Overwatch Sniper Rifle to protect Gordon while he has to scout an area alone, and provides support twice during Episode One with a Combine Emplacement Gun.
|Half-Life 2: Episode One|
|Live Bait (10G)|
|Help Alyx snipe 30 enemies in Episode One.|
|Escape From City 17 (20G)|
|Escape City 17 with Alyx.|
Behind the scenes
- Alyx's face and body were based on Jamil Giovanni Mullen, an American actress and television host. Mullen spent several days in a motion capture studio recording running, jumping, and combat animations, which were used as the starting point for Alyx's animation library.
- Actress Merle Dandridge voices Alyx. According to Valve's Bill Van Buren, she was chosen among the last five over more than one hundred actors auditioning for the part. The team wanted "someone with a beautiful voice, who could be charming, very feminine, and warmly intimate, but could then go into intense circumstances and be a strong, confident, and believable action character."
- "Alyx" is a very rare feminine variant of "Alex", the short form of "Alexander" / "Alexandra", which is from "Alexandros", "defender of men" in Greek. Being intended or not, it fits the character very well.
- In the early stages of production, Eli and Alyx Vance had no relation, and she was the daughter of Captain Vance, leader of the Combine Conscripts.
- Alyx's earliest known model, from 2002, consists of a green jacket with a white fur collar and a blue-green bodysuit, and streaks of red hair in her otherwise dark hair; the streaks are still present in the final model, but toned down. The model also has an alternate facemap featuring a Caucasian Alyx with fully red hair with streaks of orange, more in tune with her early relation to Captain Vance; it mostly consists of a "whitewashed" Jamil Mullen, as it matches the model. First seen in the Half-Life 2 trailer for E3 2002, this model is also featured in Raising the Bar, several pre-release screenshots set in Kleiner's Lab, and as a texture based on a screenshot of the model in the E3 2003 video "Psyche". In the Half-Life 2 leak, it is present as the model
predator.mdl, all black instead of the proper textures. However its textures are all present in the files, allowing a complete restoration. Late in the development process, the team agreed on the fact that she was too similar to other video game heroines, and they redesigned her whole appearance except the head in a very short time, based on sketches by Dhabih Eng, leading to the final version with the leather jacket and jeans. During several design meetings, the team considered giving her braces or glasses, along with making her more of a tinkering mechanic. In the end, the team ended up with a young woman attractive without being over the top like many female video game characters.
- One piece of concept art by Eng depicts her holding a socket wrench behind Gordon who is holding his crowbar. While she does not use a wrench as a basic weapon in the retail games, her model still has sockets attached to the belt.
- Alyx was to own a female pet alien named "Skitch". In the Alyx vignette featured in Raising the Bar, Alyx and Skitch are first met at the start of the Air Exchange chapter, where Gordon crashes with his train at a nearby depot. Then they are attacked by "tripods" and "Combine Elite".
- Very early Alyx sound files can be found in the folder "temp/alyx" in the Half-Life 2 leak files (made by other actress than Merle Dandridge):
- Other sound files relate to the Skyscraper chapter, where she is wounded after the plane crash and asks Gordon to find her father, Captain Vance, in his headquarters near the near the city's inner gates.
- A sound file also mentions she was to bring Gordon to her place at some point during the game.
- Another sound file reveals that Eli was to explain to Gordon at Black Mesa East that after the Resonance Cascade he found Alyx alone with her mother's wedding ring in her hand, suggesting the jewel carried by Alyx was originally a ring instead of a necklace, and that Alyx does not remember anything about that day. While Eli still wears his wedding ring in the final game, no ring can be found in Alyx's model, and no reference to that is ever made.
- In the WC map pack maps, Alyx's model appears often. It was used for measurements, lighting tests, and placeholders (Odell's model also alternatively fills this role).
- As seen in the first Episode Two teaser released with Episode One, at the very start of the game Alyx was to be hanging to the twisted barrier of the partially collapsed train bridge (at that point all concrete), on the brink of falling in the canyon below, calling for Gordon, instead of safely being out of the train as seen in the final game. David Speyrer revealed she was to fall right after, thus being wounded differently than in the final game. He stated there were a lot of issues with that early sequence, the worst being that Alyx falling as a result of the train crash did not create any interesting tension between the player and the Hunter as an adversary. He added that testers mashed the Use key to try and figure out how to catch her before she falls, and then they go down below, see her unconscious and really want to help her, realizing there was nothing to do but wait for the Vortigaunt. Speyrer felt that the sequence they eventually created with the Hunter was much more effective, as the player knew very clearly that Gordon was trapped and immobile, and simply had to watch helplessly as the enemy punctured Alyx.
- Concept art for Episode Three suggests that Alyx's outfit may change in the next Half-Life game. Design studies include Alyx wearing a thick parka, a Soviet army officer ushanka, her father's jacket and Harvard sweater, goggles similar to those featured in Half-Life 2 concept art, and a chullo, among others.
- Unlike other games that feature extremely vulnerable mission-critical characters, Half-Life 2 gives Alyx the ability to absorb a large amount of damage before death (due to the fact that her health regenerates extremely rapidly). It is still possible for her to die during combat however, and at several points the player is required to protect her from taking damage. Her death will result in a black screen fade and failure message, then the game will reload. It takes five simultaneous Overwatch Sniper Rifle shots to kill her, indicating that she can absorb an extremely high amount of damage. Alyx can often successfully defeat several enemies at once without the player's assistance, but she is vulnerable to multiple enemies mobbing her at close range, or to individual Combine Soldiers equipped with shotguns.
- Just before Alyx and Gordon meet with Barney, a rebel asks Alyx if she is Kleiner's daughter and she sarcastically claims that she is the daughter of Odessa Cubbage.
- In the complete darkness areas of the Episode One chapter Lowlife, Alyx will protect her eyes when Gordon directs his flashlight directly at her face (it is also seen in Episode Two). Furthermore, as she cannot proceed in complete darkness without Gordon and his flashlight, she will call in fear when the player turns it off and suddenly moves away from her.
- Alyx is referred to in Overwatch Voice announcements as "Vance subprime."
- When Alyx and Gordon first meet, she asks him "Doctor Freeman, I presume?", probably a nod to the famous quote "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?".
The Black Mesa logo as seen on Alyx's sweater, leak version.
Ghostly Half-Life 2 leak texture based on the early Alyx model, used in the E3 2003 video "Psyche" and the ending sequences of the WC map pack maps
Half-Life 2: Episode One
Half-Life 2: Episode Two
Half-Life 2: Episode Three
March 2010 image of Alyx Vance throwing a crowbar in a screen where Wallace Breen is addressing Citizens, taken from a video promoting the arrival of Steam on Mac, sent by Valve to Macworld. This references an Apple commercial directed by Ridley Scott and released late 1983, itself referencing the film/novel 1984.
Alyx buying Gordon a drink.
Kleiner greeting Alyx and Gordon with a shotgun and Lamarr, mirroring a scene from Half-Life.
Half-Life 2: Episode One
Half-Life 2: Episode Two
List of appearances
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar
- Source Particle Benchmark (Game files only) (Non-canonical appearance)
- Randolph the Red-Nosed Turret (Name only) (Non-canonical appearance)
- Half-Life 2
- Half-Life 2: Episode One
- Half-Life 2: Episode Two
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, page 149
- File:Ep2 outland 110029.jpg
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, page 153
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, page 140
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, page 118
- Half-Life 2 leak
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, page 144
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, page 150
- The Orange Box Dissected - with Valve on ComputerAndVideoGames.com
- Merle Dandridge Interview at Podcast 17