Half Life 2 is widely considered to be one of the greatest games ever made. Valve software ushered in the AAA, next-generation cinematic gaming experience that we all take for granted these days.
It was a game of atmosphere and story that has become a trove of cultural icons over the years. It’s also been a source of some controversy. The game was extended through two episodic installments in lieu of a third game, but the story never ended. 2017 marks a decade since the last official part of the game was released.
Episode 3 or a full numbered sequel have been on the lip of fans for years, but the continued silence of the developer on the matter has become a running joke in the geek world.
Still, despite this unfulfilled fan desire, Half Life 2 is still almost universally loved and a group of fans have decided the game could do with a fresh point of view to make it relevant all over again.
Welcome to City 17
Of course the big change fans want to bring to Half Life 2 is the gift of VR. The idea is to mod the game so that it will work properly with modern HMDs like the Oculus and Vive.
Now, Valve fans are no strangers to ambitious mods, but the scale of this idea may not be readily apparent. To take a game that was not designed with VR in mind and modify it so that the visuals, interface and game mechanics still make sense is not a job for the fainthearted.
If you’re an avid follower of gaming news you may remember a similar idea from a few years ago, and it seems that some of the same people are involved this time around. Three years ago VR may not have been mature enough to make this a practical project for a total overhaul, but now clearly the modders in question feel the time is right.
The original demo made use of the now essentially defunct Razer Hydra motion controllers. Now however both HTC/Valve and Oculus have mature motion controllers of their own. In other words, the time is now for the new attempt at HLVR.
Getting the Greenlight
The modders want to make the installation of the mod a one-click process and the best way to do that is for it to be sold natively on Steam, Valve’s premier online game store.
Getting games on Steam is not a straightforward process and currently independent publishers need to go through a process known as Greenlight to get admission to the shop. At the time of writing the mod has been approved by the community to go through Greenlight.
Whether Valve gives the final seal of approval is another matter entirely, but historically the company has been very supportive of fan mods to their games. So here’s holding thumbs that it all works out and we can all experience a Combine soldier telling us to “pick up the can” straight to our faces.