Windows 10 operating system, Intel Core i5-7500 or AMD Ryzen 5 1600 processor, 12 GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 580 video card with 6 GB of VRAM, SteamVR compatible Virtual reality headset
Half-Life: Alyx is an upcoming VR game developed by Valve Corporation, scheduled to release in March 2020. It is currently available for pre-purchase on Steam and, as the company's flagship VR title, will be available for free to the owners of Valve Index VR headset.
Half-Life: Alyx is set shortly after the Seven Hour War. While most of the City 17 residents learn to live under the rule of Combine, the early Resistance is beginning to form under the influence of Dr. Eli Vance and his daughter Alyx, the main protagonist of the game. As some of the Earth's most resourceful scientists, Eli and Alyx work towards finding a weakness that would help them gain an advantage over their oppressors.
Although the game is set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2, some connections to the series' future are implied: in an interview with The Verge, David Speyrer stated that it is "the next part of the Half-Life story" and recommended playing through Half-Life 2: Episode Two before starting Half-Life: Alyx.
After the release of HTC Vive VR headset and The Lab in 2016, both the players and developers themselves could see virtual reality as a promising concept, but were disappointed by the lack of fully-featured high production value games that would take advantage of the technology. After making the decision to fill this role, Valve explored different franchises, concluding on Half-Life and Portal being the most interesting choices. An idea of a multiplayer game was ruled out early in the development because of the limited audience and various other issues. Although Portal 2's assets worked well in The Lab, the developers thought that the gameplay specific to the series, involving constant flinging through space and jumping through portals, would be too disorienting for a VR game. On the other hand, Half-Life's gameplay, being a combination of storytelling, combat and exploration, seemed that many of its aspects could be greatly enhanced by VR.
An initial prototype was made using Half-Life 2's assets, expected to last around 15 minutes. The developers immediately noticed the playtesters experiencing a powerful sense of immersion, driving them to explore the environments and behave in ways unexpected in non-VR games, resulting in three times the initially estimated playthrough time even this early in development.
In February of 2017, Gabe Newell confirmed that Valve is working on three VR games. He emphasized that the games were being designed specifically for VR, as several attempts of porting existing titles proved to be uncompelling, and stated that these will be fully-featured games, unlike the previously released technology demos – The Lab and Moondust. One of these games, referred to as the Valve's flagship VR game, was announced during the Index VR headset reveal to be released later in 2019. Half-Life: Alyx was revealed to be the flagship title on November 18, 2019, in the first tweet of Valve's recently created Twitter account. A trailer was released on November 21.
- Official website
- "We’re excited to unveil Half-Life: Alyx, our flagship VR game, this Thursday at 10am Pacific Time." @valvesoftware on Twitter (November 18, 2019)
- Half-Life: Alyx is officially coming March 2020, and here’s your first look on The Verge
- Valve is making three "full" VR games on Eurogamer.net
- Valve to Launch a "Flagship VR Game" Later This Year on Index and Other SteamVR Headsets on Road to VR