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Valve dev - Half Life: Alyx will be a solely single player experience

by Mark Tyson on 12 December 2019, 11:11

Tags: Valve

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HEXUS has previously covered the unveiling of Half Life: Alyx and the initial flurry of information about the game as the official trailer was published and we found out the PC recommended specs. This VR game is going to be a big one for gamers, Valve, and even the gaming industry if it can spark a surge in interest in VR gaming and hardware.

Scheduled to be released in March 2020, Half Life: Alyx looked good in the trailer and has raised hopes with fans of the franchise old and new. We learnt at launch, rather predictably, that the new episode would have gamers playing Alyx Vance, previously seen in Half Life as an NPC, pitted as "humanity's only chance for survival". The game would involve puzzle solving, exploring - as well as taking part in visceral combat, we were told.

Now, thanks to an email interview with Valve programmer Robin Walker by The Verge, we know a bit more about the game which could be the first killer app for VR. A key aspect revealed in the exchange is that this full length VR game will be a linear adventure throughout. Gamers will be able to save progress at any point during the game and are expected to play it for hours on end using their PC tethered HMDs.

Actually the length of time play testers have been staying hooked up for has come as somewhat of a surprise to Valve. Walker commented on the game originally being designed for shorter bursts of play - due to VR comfort issues - but many seemed to be extremely absorbed often reacting like "Wow, that was the longest I’ve ever been in VR".

As per our headline, Half Life: Alyx will be a resolutely single player experience with Walker saying there will be no death-match or other multiplayer modes in the works, according to The Verge. The single player game should sparkle with quality though as Walker talks about gamers "experiencing a hand-crafted, meticulously designed path, where every space is the result of a team of people thinking about what's in it and why it is interesting". If you thirst for multiplayer VR from Valve, there are rumours of a Left4Dead VR outing in the offing.

Another interesting detail touched upon is that Valve is working on various accessibility options for Alyx so users won't necessarily need to stand up, walk around, or swing the controllers to experience it - that's good for various home environments and gamers with disabilities too.



HEXUS Forums :: 12 Comments

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I've always thought that what was really killing VR was exactly the lack of any realy engaging, cinematic experience that actually tried to do a “Virtual Reality” instead of just fun demos like beat saber. I still don't think my money would be well spent on a VR system, but now I can actually see this being the case in the future, as long as games like this keep being launched.
meuvoy
I've always thought that what was really killing VR was exactly the lack of any realy engaging, cinematic experience that actually tried to do a “Virtual Reality” instead of just fun demos like beat saber. I still don't think my money would be well spent on a VR system, but now I can actually see this being the case in the future, as long as games like this keep being launched.

The weird thing with HL2's world is that it was built with no idea that new gen VR was coming, but has all the aspects to make it work the best. There are the well-lit, spartan city block areas, the descents into tunnels, the ascents through the shimmering black crystal of Combine towers. Everything about those environments is going to look great, but the thing I think will be most affecting is the striders. Imagine how it's going to feel having one of those things stepping over you, and seeing its shadow stripe across the road.

This is the kind of thinking/happy accident that VR game worlds have been missing: the feeling of scale, which ought to have a huge emotional effect in VR versus seeing it on a flat screen.
..it could be the gaming equivalent of the 2nd coming of the messiah, but I still ain't spending the best part of £1K to play it.

Quite frankly I'm sick to the back teeth of these companies thinking that PC gamers have a bottomless pit of money to throw at them.
Bagpuss
..it could be the gaming equivalent of the 2nd coming of the messiah, but I still ain't spending the best part of £1K to play it.

Quite frankly I'm sick to the back teeth of these companies thinking that PC gamers have a bottomless pit of money to throw at them.

You can play it on an Oculus Rift S or Quest (connected to PC) which are RRP 399, have been on offer few times for 350 so dont feel the need to spend on the 1k index system as it isnt that much better.
I returned my index and got a rift s, its got worse audio (can add quick headphones anyway) and the screen lacks the higher refresh rate but its like 80 - 90 % of the same and has much better lenses.
I'm always on the lookout for good single-player games so this caught my eye.

But then it seems it's VR only and whether it's £350 or £1000 for a VR system doesn't matter to me. No way am I spending either on VR. It also appears to require Steam, and that's a non-starter for me too.

Oh well.