Fifteen years after Half-Life 2 and 12 years after Half-Life 2: Episode 2, it’s finally time. Valve has announced that a new Half-Life game is coming. Some people will be pleased, others frustrated, but very few surprised by the few details we have at this point on Valve’s upcoming VR game, Half-Life: Alyx.
After some recent leaks, Valve has officially announced Half-Life: Alyx. Valve is calling the game its flagship VR game. Just from those tidbits, we already have a lot to chew on.
While Valve hasn’t been terribly active in the games space for a while, the company is a major innovator in the VR space. Valve first helped create the HTC Vive and is now offering its own Valve Index; the two are considered the luxury models of the VR space, with offerings from Oculus and PlayStation sitting a few tiers below (unless going wireless is a big deal) thanks to the headsets’ superior resolution and head tracking among other things.
No, it’s not Half-Life 3.
With that in mind, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that Half-Life: Alyx is a VR-focused title. And while the company hasn’t explicitly said that this game isn’t coming to the big, flag screens most of us have, the simple fact that Valve is calling it a “flagship VR title” suggests that the only way to get into the game is to give away half of your life savings for a SteamVR-compatible headset like the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.
But the word flagship is worth eyeballing, too. When we used the word flagship, we’re generally referring to something considered a leader in its class. Half-Life: Alyx is a piece of software that Valve wants to use to sell VR headsets, so we could well be looking at a fully-featured game built entirely with VR in mind. That’s the kind of gamble a company like Valve could take that a more traditional studio (that doesn’t have a massive storefront to help absorb costs) couldn’t. But then, using things like commonly-accepted word definitions and industry norms to figure out what Valve is going to do isn’t a bet most gamers would take.
No, it’s not Half-Life 3. And the truth is, we can only guess at what it might be. A shooter? A mystery game? Time will tell. But Valve has said that it has three VR games in development, so we can still cross our fingers that a proper Half-Life is coming. In the meantime, we’ll find out more about Half-Life: Alyx this week when Valve reveals its new VR game this Thursday (November 21) at 10 a.m. Pacific.