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Valve has finally stuck a proper release date on Half-Life: Alyx, the long-awaited new Half-Life game. The VR-only game, said to be around 15 hours long, will come out for PC on March 23rd.
Alyx is set between the events of 1998's Half-Life and its 2004 sequel. Which is to say: an alien force called the Combine has invaded Earth, and things have gone real, real bad for us human types. The player is cast as Alyx Vance, a supporting character in previous games, who must combat the Combine alongside her father, Eli.
As a game made for VR, from the ground up, Half-Life: Alyx is sure to make full use of the medium. So expect to be waggling more than just your thumbs around if you're playing this thing, come March 23rd.
While it's compatible with all PC VR headsets, Alyx is going to be free for anyone owning a Valve Index. Upon the announcement that the game - the first in its series since October 2007's Half-Life 2: Episode 2 - would be given gratis to said audience, the Index sold out right across Europe and North America. This spike in sales equated to over 100,000 units sold in the final quarter of 2019, compared to fewer than 50,000 sold in the nine months beforehand.
So far, Valve's been keeping previews of Alyx on the down-low. There's been no significant press preview event, and very little on the actual gameplay has been revealed. One person who has played the game is Xbox's Phil Spencer, who considered it to be "amazing" while also maintaining that VR isn't a focus for Xbox's next console, the Series X.
Unlike the Gordon Freeman-starring Half-Life and Half-Life 2, Alyx won't be a silent protagonist in the new VR game, instead voiced by actress Ozioma Akagha. Greg Coomer, a designer on the game, spoke to PC Gamer about this decision:
"Previously, Half-Life games have always had a silent protagonist. We try to avoid being dogmatic about any game design choice. All of these choices are trade-offs, and that's definitely the case with silent protagonists. Alyx being an active participant in conversations made it much, much easier to incorporate narrative into the game in natural ways, and as a result, there's a higher density of storytelling over the course of the game."
So, once again, for your diary-marking needs: Half-Life: Alyx releases on March 23rd, for PC-compatible VR headsets. Which means I'll probably never play it. Never mind, eh.
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