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Final night time, Valve introduced it will lastly choose up the tattered threads of its personal longest-running sport franchise — no less than, in case you squint lots and are prepared to be hopeful concerning the future. Half-Life Alyx, a brand new VR flagship title from Valve, will debut on Thursday, at 10 AM Pacific / 1 PM Jap. The corporate introduced the brand new sport in a Tweet:

Half-Life Alyx is designed for PC VR methods from corporations like Oculus and HTC, although presumably Home windows Blended Actuality units and Valve’s personal Index will each be supported. That is the VR flagship title that’s been teased and rumored for a number of years at Valve; Ars experiences that that is the VR sport we had been alleged to get in 2019, with the delay chalked as much as notorious “Valve Time.” The sport is a prequel, not a sequel — the long-desired, long-rumored, Half Life three stays a lifeless letter.

Underneath most circumstances, discovering that HLA is a prequel would possibly kill portion of my curiosity; prequels don’t precisely have one of the best observe report of fleshing out worlds or tales in probably the most compelling style. On this case, nevertheless, my curiosity is piqued for a number of causes. First, we solely know what occurred in-between the occasions of Half-Life and Half-Life 2 within the broadest sense. Half-Life could have occurred on Might 16, 2003 (the precise date is unknown, see this dialogue of the timeline for particulars) and Gordon was in stasis for almost 20 years. HL2, subsequently, happens someplace between 2015 and 2029, relying on precisely how lengthy Gordon was on ice. We all know that in this time, the Mix conquered Earth (in the course of the Seven Hour Conflict) and the preliminary human / Vortigaunt resistance fashioned.

Alyx Vance, with robotic companion Canine. Picture by the Half-Life Wikia

What might Half-Life Alyx discover? The creation of Canine, her sidekick within the first sport, the preliminary years of the human resistance, and the thrilling transformation of Barney from a former safety guard to intrepid resistance fighter (Half-Life: Barney doesn’t have the identical ring, regardless of the way you slice it). If we actually wish to get loopy, we might think about potential Portal crossovers (no less than one which clarifies a bit extra of Aperture Science’s influence on the world) or a solution to what occurred to Adrian Shephard within the occasions of Half-Life: Opposing Drive. Valve has by no means clarified what the G-Man did with Shephard, so this plot level might theoretically be revisited.

HLA might sport its personal distinctive interface device for altering how gamers work together with the sport world, based on Ars. In case you’ve performed HL2, you’re probably conscious that the sport includes a distinctive weapon that lets you manipulate the setting–the Gravity Gun. On the time, utilizing the Gravity Gun to control the world round you felt borderline revolutionary, although not many titles have chosen to proceed down the trail of emphasizing bodily interactions and real-world object manipulation in the identical style.

In line with a number of sources, the Gravity Gun of HL2 might be adopted by a brand new kind of object manipulation in HLA, utilizing the so-called “Grabbity Gloves,” a reputation I discover concurrently good and annoying. Supposedly these are used for “point-and-snag” object manipulation, somewhat than requiring gamers to stroll over and bodily choose up objects off the ground. These could favor the controllers used on the Valve Index, which go away your fingers free to maneuver. There are rumors that the sport might principally be a master-class in easy methods to construct environments for VR gamers.

VR has been on the lookout for a killer app for a very long time. It appears absurd to assume that Valve — an organization identified much more for promoting video games than constructing something latest at this level — might inject the sort of killer app that everybody’s been hoping for. This may be the primary ground-up use of the Supply 2 engine for a brand new FPS, so far the engine has solely been used for DOTA-related titles and for Artifact. As for whether or not the sport might be good or a worthwhile sequel to probably the most well-known and unfinished gaming franchises of all time, in all probability finest to not speculate. Of all of the questions in play, that one appears probably the most troublesome to reply.

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