The last few months have been a whirlwind of excitement thanks to one company and one singular videogame, that’s of course Valve and Half-Life: Alyx. The gaming giant behind one of the most popular first-person shooters (FPS) for PC has at last publically finalised a date for the launch, Monday 23rd March.
Arriving the week after the Game Developers Conference (GDC), is on course to be the standout virtual reality (VR) title of 2020, and there’s a lot riding on it, both in terms of the franchise and the technology. The last main entry in the series was Half-Life 2 (2004) with smaller episodic editions arriving in 2006 and 07′. While it isn’t the Half-Life 3 sequel fans have long yearned for, the fact that Valve has confirmed Half-Life: Alyx is of comparable length to Half-Life 2 indicates this is no VR experiment. And if any videogame is going to put VR on the map then it’ll be Half-Life.
Alongside the release date Valve has unveiled several new screenshots to whet the appetite, showcasing a gorgeous looking world that’s going to be fun to play through. As yet no gameplay footage has been released but in Valve’s recent Reddit AMA did mention some would be released – likely around GDC. A Twitter thread also mentioned that: “Pre-Order bonuses for anyone who has purchased a Valve Index will start rolling out the week of March 2nd, beginning with Steam VR Home environments inspired by locations in Half-Life: Alyx. We will have more information on upcoming Valve Index availability soon.”
That last sentence is important as currently Valve Index headsets, Index controllers and SteamVR 2.0 Base Station’s are very difficult to find. Head to Valve Index’s official sales page wherever you are in the world and next to each product it’ll probably say ‘Notify Me’. Demand was high when the Valve Index launched in June 2019, with pre-orders slipping by several months. The announcement of Half-Life: Alyx helped heighten interest but it was the free offer that likely pushed demand over the edge. Anyone who owns the Valve Index or the controllers will get Half-Life: Alyx completely free of charge – good incentive don’t you agree?
Now you don’t actually need a Valve Index to play Half-Life: Alyx. The videogame will be fully SteamVR compatible so Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality headsets will work as well. But you can be sure that Valve has tailored Half-Life: Alyx to look and feel the best on its headset. With 5 weeks to go until launch Half-Life: Alyx is still being offered with a 10% discount, dropping the price to £41.84 GBP (normally £46.49).
Half-Life: Alyx’s story is set between Half-Life and Half-Life 2 where: “Alyx Vance and her father Eli secretly mount the resistance to the brutal occupation of Earth by a mysterious alien race known as The Combine,” Valve previous revealed. If you need to catch up on the story now is the perfect time to do it as you currently have free access to the entire Half-Life series on Steam.
VRFocus will continue its coverage of Half-Life: Alyx and Valve Index, reporting back with all the latest updates.