This is the new Half-Life

Few game series have such a charisma as “Half-Life”: After a twelve-year break, manufacturer Valve has now introduced a new part of the series. You need a VR headset to play. This release will be a big competitor for upcoming VR sex games like this, which are also a big niche in the VR industry.

For the first time in twelve years, the games company Valve has presented a new game from the shooter series “Half-Life”. However, “Half-Life: Alyx” is no ordinary PC game: It runs exclusively on virtual reality glasses connected to a gaming computer. It will be released in March 2020, according to an official info page.

Many fans are pleased with Valve’s announcement because the first-person perspective of “Half-Life” in combination with virtual reality (VR) promises a new, presumably much more intense gaming experience. Valve himself enthuses in his advertising text: “Experience perfect immersion in your interaction with the environment, solving puzzles, exploring the world and realistic battles.

Other fans, on the other hand, who don’t own any of the supported VR headsets, are furious: if they want to play the game, they must invest at least several hundred euros in a VR system. “Half-Life: Alyx” is also not the third part of the series that many fans have been eagerly awaiting for years, but a game whose plot is located between “Half-Life” and “Half-Life 2”. The term “Alyx” in the title alludes to the character Alyx Vance, a resistance leader. She will be controlled by the player in the new game.

Series fans have known Vance since “Half-Life 2”, where she met protagonist Gordon Freeman. From the new main character, the “only hope for the survival of mankind” in the fight against alien conquerors according to Valve, only the virtual hands can be seen in a first trailer to the game.

An exciting title for the VR market

Valves’ focus on virtual reality is hardly surprising. Like Facebook subsidiary Oculus, the company already has its own VR glasses on the market. Since 2016 you can buy the glasses Vive, which Valve developed together with HTC.

With the new “Half-Life”, Valve probably wants to boost sales of a newer headset. Since 2019, the company from Bellevue in the US state of Washington has also been offering the Valve Index, an in-house production.

Valve Index: Virtual Reality after the Vision from Bellevue

The index is one of the highest quality, but also most expensive VR systems for end users. Valve currently charges 1080 Euro for the complete package. In addition, a high-end gaming computer is required to operate the headset. Those who own the high-end system will get the new “Half-Life” game for free. The same applies to players who only own the index controllers.

In addition to the Valve Index, “Half-Life: Alyx” will also work with the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift, the Oculus Quest (which requires a link cable to connect the glasses to a PC) and the so-called Windows Mixed Reality headsets from various manufacturers. For these systems you will have to buy the “Alyx” for about 45 to 50 Euro.

Nevertheless, a new “Half-Life” certainly has the potential to make VR gaming more attractive for significantly more players than before. There are only a few gaming brands in the world of VR with the charisma of a “Half-Life”.

Part one is considered a milestone

Valve, the company behind the series, is both game developer (“Portal”, “Left 4 Dead”, “Dota 2”) and operator of Steam, the largest and most important PC game platform in the world. The platform, which now also sells “Alyx”, can be used to buy and play games from a wide variety of developer studios.

  1. The first part of “Half-Life” was released in 1998 and is considered a milestone in the shooter genre. Here you can find a 2017 retro test of the game.
  2. The successor “Half-Life 2” was launched in 2004 and could only be played with a Steam account. At that time it was a great excitement, but for Steam Valve the coupling paved the way to success. The last “Half-Life” game so far was released in 2007 with “Half-Life 2: Episode Two”.
  3. It is still unclear exactly how long the new “Half-Life: Alyx” will play. But Valve speaks of a “full-length game”: “Alyx” should be more than just a short VR experience.

According to Steam, “Alyx” can be played standing, sitting or in so-called roomscale mode, in which you can move freely within a defined area of the room. In the game itself there are supposed to be different possibilities of locomotion, from teleporting through the game world to continuous movement via analogue stick.

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