Valve shocked everyone in November by announcing the release of a new Half-Life game (opens in new tab) that takes place in virtual reality (VR). Yesterday, it announced (opens in new tab) that it wants to celebrate the upcoming Half-Life: Alyx by making the other entries in the long-running series free-to-play on Steam.
It's been a while since Valve released a Half-Life game (or updated any of its non-competitive series, for that matter, but that's a complaint for another time). The first game debuted in 1998, then Half-Life 2 was released in 2004, followed by Half-Life 2: Episode One and Half-Life 2: Episode Two in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Then... nothing.
Valve finally broke its silence in November with Half-Life: Alyx and plans to make the game free for people who own a Valve Index (opens in new tab) VR headset (opens in new tab). Everyone else can purchase the game via Steam in March.
The preceding Half-Life titles were immensely popular on release, and Valve often discounts them during its Steam sales, too. But Valve making all Half-Life games free could still help drum up enthusiasm for Half-Life: Alyx.
Let's put it this way: people born in 2007 are now 13 years old. Even people years older might not have bought the Half-Life games; it's not like anyone expected the series to be relevant again after it went untouched for over a decade. Now those whippersnappers can see for themselves what all the hype is about.
Just don't wait too long to add the games to your Steam library. Valve said the Half-Life series would only be free-to-play until Half-Life: Alyx debuts in March. That means there's no time like the present to learn why many gamers haven't shut up about the possibility (or unlikeliness) of Valve releasing Half-Life 3 for the last 13 years.