Half-Life fans will have to hold out a little longer. Valve today announced that its flagship virtual reality (VR) title, Half-Life: Alyx, is now available for pre-order with a planned release in March 2020. That probably isn’t as early as some hoped--especially since the last Half-Life game was released in 2007--but at least it shows that the company isn’t done with the beloved sci-fi franchise.
We should be clear, however, that Half-Life: Alyx doesn't appear to be an indicator that Valve plans to make Half-Life 3. The game’s an “interquel” set between the original Half-Life and Half-Life 2, according to Valve’s announcement.
It follows Alyx Vance, a non-playable character from Half-Life 2 and its two episodic expansions, and her father Eli as they “secretly mount the resistance to the brutal occupation of Earth by a mysterious alien race known as The Combine.”
Valve insists that the VR game will stay true to the Half-Life franchise by embodying “all the hallmarks of a classic Half-Life game,” namely world exploration, puzzles and “visceral” combat. The game also promises a layered story that connects to characters from other Half-Life games. (Although, we suspect the scope of that story will be at least somewhat, limited given the game’s placement between two existing entries in the decades-old franchise.)
“Everyone at Valve is excited to be returning to the world of Half-Life. VR has energized us. We’ve invested a lot of ourselves in the technology. But we're also game developers at heart, and to be devoting ourselves to a VR game this ambitious is just as exciting,” Valve co-founder Gabe Newell said in a statement.
“For that to come in the form of Half-Life feels like the culmination of a lot things we care a lot about: truly great games, cutting edge technology and open platforms.”
Free for Index Owners
Half-Life: Alyx is available for pre-order via Steam now. The game is $59.99, but Valve is giving the game away for free if you own its Index VR headset. VR has waited quite a while for a flagship game to convince people to invest in buying a VR headset. Valve is clearly banking on the next Half-Life game being it, and it’s just given a large incentive for making the Index the headset you choose to experience it.