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We live in strange times, my friends. Strange times indeed. Against all odds, Valve has only gone and announced Half-Life: Alyx, a flagship VR title set between the events of the original Half-Life and Half-Life 2. No, it's not the Half-Life 3 we might have spent years hoping for, but I'll take what I can get at this point. Plus, it looks genuinely fantastic.
As you can see from the trailer below, Half-Life: Alyx follows the story of Alyx Vance and her dad Eli as they work together to form the resistance and defend the world against the dreaded alien Combine forces.
Despite being a VR game, Valve has promised that this is far more than a novelty spinoff. The developer has insisted that Half-Life: Alyx is a full-featured, full-length Half-Life adventure, complete with everything you'd expect from that. Meaning exploration, puzzles, combat, and a brand new story that dives into a forgotten period of Half-Life history.
You'll also be glad to know that, according to Valve designer Greg Coomer, it took playtesters as long to finish Half-Life: Alyx as it did to beat Half-Life 2, so we can put the length of the new game at around at least 15 hours.
Obviously that could be more or less based on exactly how much screwing around you do in the game. Being a super-immersive VR title, I'm sure most of us are bound to feel a little more inclined to explore every nook and cranny. I know I will.
Gabe Newell explained that working with VR on titles like Half-Life: Alyx has been a hugely re-energising boost for Valve. "We've invested a lot of ourselves in the technology," he said. "But we're also game developers at heart, and to be devoting ourselves to a VR game this ambitious is just as exciting.
"For that to come in the form of Half-Life feels like the culmination of a lot things we care a lot about: truly great games, cutting edge technology, and open platforms."
Half-Life: Alyx is coming in March 2020 for all PC-based VR headsets and is being sold as a full-priced game. Valve's Index headset is clearly the preferred platform, however. Index owners will get the game for free, as well as a bunch of bonus content - including "alternate gun skins" to embellish Alyx's arsenal.
If you own an Index, the game will appear automatically in your Steam library when the game launches. Everyone else will have to fork out their hard-earned cash for it. Next stop, Half-Life 3?
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