Half-Life: Alyx has brought the Half-Life franchise out of narrative limbo, says Valve

Written by Chad Norton on Thu, Mar 25, 2021 9:56 AM
System Requirements Optimum 1080p PC Build Low vs Ultra Screenshots GPU Performance Chart CPU List That Meet System Requirements GPU List That Meet System Requirements

Valve may be one of the most well known and successful video game developers out there; from creating some of the most beloved franchises, single or multiplayer, to the biggest store platform on PC. But their most recognized and highly praised work, Half-Life, has hardly been touched in 13 years. At least, until last year that is.

In a recent interview, Robin Walker, a Senior Developer at Valve and one of the creative forces behind some of their most beloved titles like Half-Life, Dota 2, Team Fortress etc. gave some very interesting insight into the development of Half-Life: Alyx.

I think for the first couple of years, it was just a bunch of people in the company sceptical that we were going to actually build and release a Half-life product again,” Walker said. “All the scepticism about Valve working on Half-Life that’s out there was just as alive within the company itself, and you just resign yourself to thinking that we’re never going to do it.

Apparently the entire team behind Alyx was very nervous about exploring the Half-Life universe again, and understandably so given the amount of pressure and hype that has surrounded the series since the second episode DLC launched in 2007. But Walker said that “fear is a good motivator” and when the fans responded positively to the announcement, it certainly helped to calm their nerves.

In reference to the fact that Half-Life Alyx was a VR exclusive title - which did not receive a huge amount of positive reactions - Walker had this to say: “The worst thing we could do is ship a bad Half-Life game, but if we ship a good one that is worthy of the name, then I'm sure people will be able to experience it in time.

What’s interesting is how Walker described the “narrative limbo” that players have been stuck in after the fateful Half-Life 2: Episode Two ending - which has been one of the biggest cliffhangers in gaming history, mostly due to the fact that it has been left unresolved for so long. But Walker wanted that to change:

We realise that it needed to be something that mattered. The story couldn’t be something you could just ignore and move onto whatever we build next. We also knew that Half-Life fans have been stuck in a sort of narrative limbo for a long time now, and we wanted that to change.

Without spoiling anything, the ending of HL Alyx is open ended, and gives hope that there is more to come in the universe and more stories to be told with the titular characters in it.

We wanted to be excited about possibility again,” Walker continued. “We gave [the player] a red herring where you think you know how it’s going to end with a fully plausible ending and we then subverted that, which were all really important elements that took a lot of iteration and came together towards the end.

Half-Life: Alyx may not be the game everyone wanted after HL2 Episode 2 (everyone wanted Half-Life 3 or Half-Life 2: Episode 3) but it’s the Half-Life we needed in order to kickstart the story again and leave room for possibility. The possibility that there is more stories to tell, and Valve is back to tell them.

Whether that means we will get the fateful HL3 at any point is uncertain. It has become such a legend at this point I half expect Valve to just call the next game Half-Life 4 so they don’t succumb to the hype. Either way, it’s an exciting time to be a Half-Life fan again.

What do you think? Did you play Half-Life: Alyx? Are you excited for the future of Half-Life again? Let us know!

Are you excited for more Half-Life?

What do you want to see next?

Login or Register to join the debate

Rep
210
Offline
admin approved badge
07:02 Mar-26-2021

What you want to see next?


Half-Life 2: Episode 3

1
Rep
76
Offline
admin approved badge
22:58 Mar-25-2021

Nope, Half-Life Alyx is just proof that HL was never in narrative limbo and Valve could move the story whenever they felt like. Valve just didn't feel like doing anything with franchise, until they needed it to move hardware. In this case VR. As for excitement, Alyx was betrayal for old fans like me who didn't want VR,so I got to say I am not too exited, god knows to what gimmick will it tie in...

2
Rep
76
Offline
admin approved badge
23:00 Mar-25-2021

God knows, when Valve will again need to move something and it will be again, screw old fans who helped us grow to what we are today, Gabe has new toy to sell. So yeah, not really excited. Especially since its tie to VR, bringing entry level pretty high, it will remain one game that most will never get to play. But hey, as long as Index sold well, right... I will give sarcastic yay to that.

2
Rep
37
Offline
22:26 Mar-25-2021

After installing the Half Life games on my PC i haven't uninstalled them... that's all

0
Rep
1
Offline
18:36 Mar-25-2021

Been playing Half Life & mods since 2000,if i combine my years with my brother's year we are into it -40 years together :)


BUT....few weeks ago i just realize how big potential half life story can have :)

0
Rep
58
Offline
admin approved badge
19:51 Mar-25-2021

I'm an orginal fan as well. I haven't played in years but soon as HF3 hits market, I am in like flyn!

2

Can They Run... |

| 60FPS, High, 1440p
Core i7-7700K 4-Core 4.2GHz GeForce GTX 1080 MSI Gaming X 8GB Edition 16GB
Core i7-3770 4-Core 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 950 MSI Gaming 2GB Edition 8GB
| 30FPS, Medium, 720p
Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4GHz Radeon HD 5570 1024MB 4GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i5-11400 6-Core 2.7GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ultra 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]