If ever there was something like a fateful tweet, filled with portent, it’s this one.
Valve has announced a new Half-Life game, but it’s not the comically-absent Half Life 3. No, it’s a VR game focusing on Alyx Vance, the co-star of Half Life 2.
What is Half-Life?
In case you don’t really understand why this might be a big deal, you should know that the Half Life franchise of video games have become almost mythical in status. When Valve Software released the first game in 1998, it changed the very nature of first-person shooting games.
Half Life is the clear dividing line between between “old school” shooter like 90s Doom and modern, story-driven shooters.
The series reached its zenith with Half Life 2 and it’s two expansion episodes. Bringing gaming into the modern era, with next-generation animation, graphics and production values. The series ended abruptly, with no proper ending.
The last instalment was released in 2007. That’s twelve years of fans waiting for either Half Life 2: Episode Three or simply Half Life 3. Valve is famously tight-lipped about what it’s doing until it’s ready to show off, so no one has any idea if the company is even working on it.
In fact, Valve rarely releases any games these days. It’s become a juggernaut of online digital game sales through Steam. It’s also a major VR pioneer, starting with its co-development of the HTC Vive and culminating in the excellent Valve Index headset we have today.
There’s little financial incentive for Valve to make the third Half-Life game, but not they’ve gone ahead and announced a new Half Life game anyway.
So What’s the Actual Game?
Well, details are still pretty scant, but it seems the official Valve Twitter account (which is new) will be dropping more information in the coming weeks. Which means that Valve must have the game in a state where they are ready to show it off.
We do know that this is a flagship Half Life game. It’s intended for VR platforms, although it probably won’t be exclusive to the Index. We will know more on Thursday, 21 November 2019.
There are of course many questions. While we know the title is Half-Life: Alyx, we don’t know if she’s the player character. We don’t know if it is set after the events of Episode 2. We don’t even know if the game is a first-person shooter or not!
What we do know is that this is firm evidence that Valve is still making games and, more importantly, is still making Half Life games.
Perhaps this will be enough to push sales of their VR hardware and even perhaps get gamers who have been wary of VR to finally relent and join the party.