Why Half-Life: Alyx has to be a VR game

Written by Neil Soutter on Sun, Mar 8, 2020 2:00 PM
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I know, I know, you're probably sick of seeing all the 'Half-Life: Alyx' headlines. But there’s been a lot of controversy surrounding the game lately. With only 3 weeks left to go until release we finally got our first good look at the kind of gameplay players would experience in the Half-Life 2 prequel. However, this was met with a lot of backlash as most of the community wondered why HL: Alyx had to be a VR game, citing that modders will come up with a way to play the game in a non-VR format.

But the point of Half-Life: Alyx is to bring a full-scale AAA title to VR platforms. We keep forgetting that virtual reality is still in its infancy, not it’s prime. So developers need more of a push to create these types of games for VR, and Valve wants to start that push with Alyx’s release.

Speaking to the press, Robin Walker, a game designer and programmer at Valve, stated that “there were a lot of players who wanted experiences that were more ambitious in scope and depth,”- when speaking of releasing The Lab when the Vive was available - ”we thought we were in a position to help provide that. Now, four years later, there are a lot more developers who share these goals, and we're hoping games like Half-Life: Alyx continue to encourage that even further,

So whilst it may not be the answer you were looking for, Valve is trying to VR out there more. Virtual Reality needs more AAA games, but developers won’t make them without a large enough audience. Arguably, making the next Half-Life game - after a very long hiatus - a VR exclusive is exactly the kind of push the market needs. More people will buy VR and see it as a worthwhile platform, which means prices will go down in the future as the market becomes larger.

Valve did say that they see this as a return to the franchise, not the end of it, so we will be seeing more Half-Life games in the future. Whether they will be VR exclusives is anyone's guess, but if Valve is smart then they will focus on developing more games that aren't all entirely VR exclusive.

With the announcement of the Vive Cosmos family, it looks like we’ll be getting another addition to one of the most affordable ways to experience Virtual Reality, so the future’s looking bright for VR and VR gaming.

What do you think? Is Half-Life: Alyx the necessary push to get more players/developers into VR? Was Valve right in making Alyx a VR exclusive? Let us know your thoughts!

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08:41 Mar-09-2020

It doesn't have to be VR. It could have easily been a non-VR PC game,but Index. Shame I will have to sit this one out.

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01:33 Mar-10-2020

I know... Not everyone is ready to jump in and get a VR setup. Not only is the price pretty high but even having a space to do it might be an issue for some.

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09:59 Mar-10-2020

Not to mention I literally just can't play in VR. It's nauseating and I can't play for more than half an hour

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20:03 Mar-08-2020

Well, Valve made Index, of course they wanted to make game that will help them sell Index, same as they made Half-Life 2 to help them getting huge install base for Steam, despite most people complaining about it back then. And while yes, Alyx is not Index exclusive, it works with all VR headsets, there is still no coincidence that Index sold out immediately after Alyx announcement.

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20:06 Mar-08-2020

Because I know there will be some white knight trying to defend Valve by how it isn't exclusive. Duh it isn't, but this doesn't mean it didn't shift a ton more Index sales, because regardless of how you look at it, people will still perceive it as best played on Index. And sold units are pretty much proof for that. Now that we can move on from that, yeah, it definitely will be big for VR.

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20:08 Mar-08-2020

And I believe Gabe did state something in the lines of how he envies unique Switch hardware Nintendo has, so I fully believe this is his attempt to have unique hardware to play with and reason he picked Half-Life franchise up again,because I do believe in some of AMA on Reddit he stated he doesn't like working on HL,due to some hard decisions he had to make in the past or something in those lines.

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20:11 Mar-08-2020

But personally I am not getting VR, so Alyx will be first Half-Life game I will never own. It is just shame how quick Valve was to abandon older fanbase just to try pushing "new toys for them to play with". It happened to regular gaming, it will happen to VR too once Gabe decides he wants new "toy". And yes, I am still not happy about it.

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14:19 Mar-08-2020

HL:Alyx is to VR what HL2 was to Steam.


It's that simple.

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14:33 Mar-08-2020

i do not think it will have the same impact to VR as HF2 to steam, but i do agree that it will probably show more advances for the future VR development. Also i think it will help VR come back to spotlight, because now it is in second plan.

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14:35 Mar-08-2020

i think that new technology such as VR should transcend pc gaming to new level and not just be as an additional control system such as steering wheel or game pad.

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21:19 Mar-09-2020

They have VR with CPU/GPU built in but it's mobile hardware which is not going to be good. If there's a WiFi connection to a PC to send the game but then there is lag.

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