May 22, 2022

What’s Next for Half-Life and Valve?

After the successful weekend for DOOM: Eternal and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the next big game dropping was Half-Life: Alyx – a first-person VR experience. Hear what Valve’s Robin Walker had to say about the future of Half-Life

Aside from DOOM Eternal and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the other big gaming launch of this weekend was Half-Life: Alyx.

The long-awaited return of the beloved Half-Life franchise came the same day the UK plummeted into lockdown. So, perfect timing, really, all things considered.

Sadly, none of us here at ABG (as far as I’m aware, at least) has had a go at Alyx. Looking at the early reception, however, it seems to have done well for itself. PC Gamer gave it 92% whilst Steam users have awarded it a solid 10/10 and the overall reviews are “Overwhelmingly Positive”.

Still, the crux of the matter is: Alyx is a VR game. That’s not always the easiest sell to some people. And, after a staggering 13 years since the last entry into the series (that being Half-Life 2: Episode Two), what lies next for the franchise?

Polygon recently sat down with Valve game designer Robin Walker, who, on the topic of approaching a new Half-Life game, said:

“In the past, if you’re one of the sets of people who are brave enough to work on something you had to admit to yourself could be Half-Life 3Half-Life 3 really always needed to answer the question of what is the opportunity, what is the big technological leap that you think we can use in some way to build some really interesting experience for the player? That’s a paralyzing thing to work on. It’s hard to sit down and say, ‘I’m going to write code on that today”.

It Started Out With a Kit…

Now, you’ll have noticed that Alyx isn’t quite Half-Life 3. It turns out, Alyx actually started life out as a tech demo prototype for the burgeoning VR systems. Initially, Valve was going to make a demo that players could roam through within 15 minutes. The game’s playtesters ended up spending up to 45 minutes instead, looking to explore everything there was within this VR world Valve had designed:

“As soon as we built that prototype and put it in front of people, and talked to them afterwards … it was obvious. I know how to start writing code for this today, I know how to start working”.

And so, Half-Life: Alyx was born.

When it comes to a possible next game in the series though, Walker said:

“We haven’t made any decisions about what to do next, concretely, because there’s no reason to. We can wait a week”.

I Mean, It’s Something. Right?

Seemingly vague, but it’s not a no. Walker did expand on that though, and mentioned:

“I will say there’s a lot of affection for the universe. I really think we can all say, we really liked making this game. It was fun as hell to make. It was a real breath of fresh air to build a game like this again after working for years on service — sort of marathons instead of things you know are going to end

We ended the game in the way you always end the game as a game developer, which is that the end is when you feel like now you really know how to make this game. [Don’t worry, I didn’t understand it, either]

I’d like to believe that we’re as good as we’ve ever been at building Half-Life at this point, and I hope we continue to make some more. I don’t think there’s going to be another 13 years [until the next one], and if it is, I probably won’t be working on it. I’m too old for that”.

YouTube player

So, dropping little teasers there for us all. Have you picked up Half-Life: Alyx yet? If so, what do you think? Let us know in the comments section down below.


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