Valve surprised us and just about everybody else who has ever played a PC game earlier this week when it announced the impending release of a new Half-Life game called Half-Life: Alyx. Now, Valve has revealed some major details on its game, including a release date and how we’ll be able to play it.
Is this VR’s killer-app game?
Valve lead programmer David Speyrer dropped a few crucial bits talking to The Verge. Half-Life: Alyx is not a side story or an episode. This game will be “around the same length as Half-Life 2.” It takes place before Half-Life 2, but Speyrer says it’s best if you play through Half-Life 2: Episode 2 first. So it’s not a simple tech demo. It’s not a sequel, but it’s not not a sequel, either.
VR fans will rejoice: Half-Life Alyx, built on Valve’s new Source 2 engine, is VR-exclusive. It’s designed for the ground up for VR. Any SteamVR-compatible headset works, though, so you don’t need a Valve Index to play it (though it’s free if you have one). The Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets should all work. Even an Oculus Quest will work if you plug in via the USB Type-C cable.
Valve says that Half-Life: Alyx is VR down to the core, and it’s not as simple as mapping actions to a keyboard. There are so many small things you can do in the game that “we could have to map an entire section of the keyboard dedicated just to interacting with doors,” Valve developer Dario Casali told Polygon. You can partially open a door, peek through it, shut it, put a gun through the gap and fire it, and more. Speyrer said that making the game compatible with traditional flat screens would “end up watering down the experience.” If a traditional version is coming, it will be a separate thing, though the team didn’t hint that such a thing is happening.
The Min Reqs
The minimum requirements for Half-Life: Alyx ask for a Windows 10 computer with a Core i5-7500/Ryzen 5 1600 or better on the CPU front and an Nvidia GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics card. You’ll also need 12GB of RAM, too, the company says. That’s not a top-shelf computer by any means, but it probably won’t make for an ideal experience, either.
Valve hasn’t set an exact day for Half-Life: Alyx, but says it is coming in March 2020. That the company is even talking at all suggests it must be pretty confident in that time frame. The game is up for pre-order right now for 10% off its cover price of $59.99 on Steam.