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Half Life: Alyx – Everything we know about the VR exclusive prequel

Valve is making another Half-Life. Yes, you read that right. Half-Life: Alyx is a prequel set in the iconic universe coming exclusively to the medium of virtual reality.

It’s far from a normal experience, and if we’re being perfectly honest, it’s hard to imagine the franchise returning by traditional means.

Expectations were too high, impossible to meet after the series was left in a state of isolation after Episode Two’s frankly devastating cliffhanger ending. Venturing into virtual reality gives Valve a chance to reset fan demands, drawing them into something where they simply don’t know what to expect. It’s a genuine blockbuster the medium hasn’t really seen before, and one we can’t wait to play. 

We’ve compiled everything you need to know about Half-Life: Alyx including all the latest news, release date, gameplay, trailers, specs and more.

Related: Upcoming PC Games 2020

Half-Life: Alyx release date – When is it coming out?

Valve has confirmed that Half-Life: Alyx will be coming exclusively to PC on March 23, 2020. It will be compatible across a range of different virtual reality headsets, so PC players shouldn’t have trouble jumping into the game so long as they have sufficient specs. 

Half-Life: Alyx trailer – How does the prequel look?

You can watch the reveal trailer for Half-Life: Alyx below, which provides a comprehensive look at gameplay mechanics and characters while teasing the overall narrative. Chances are we’ll be going to some dangerous places once March rolls around: 

Half-Life: Alyx story – When does it take place?

Half-Life: Alyx will take place before the events of the second game, acting as a prequel where Alyx Vance will act as the primary protagonist before ever meeting infamous scientist Gordan Freeman. You and your father must fight against the Combine menace who has taken over the world, thwarting their plans and uncovering exactly what it is they want. 

Valve’s David Speyner has said this isn’t a side story or episodic outing, but the next major chapter in Half Life’s story roughly the same length as previous mainline games. The developer clearly isn’t messing around with its ambitious transition to virtual reality. Its reveal trailer provides a detailed glimpse of the story and its characters, although much of it remains shrouded in mystery. 

Related: Cyberpunk 2077 preview

Half-Life Alyx

Half-Life Alyx gameplay – How will it play in virtual reality?

Built in Valve’s Source 2 engine, Half-Life: Alyx is using the company’s best technology to create what it describes as a “flagship VR game.” That’s a bold statement yet one with weight, since you don’t get much bigger in the gaming space than Half-Life. Like it’s predecessors, this will be a story-driven first-person shooter set across a vast, dystopian world. 

The Gravity Gun will be replaced by their prototype predecessor – the Gravity Gloves, which will be represented by your virtual reality headset’s motion controllers in-game. These will allow Alyx to pick up objects and weapons seemingly out of her reach, which sounds like a novel approach to the medium’s still inconsistent approach to movement controls.

The Half-Life franchise has always been renown for its innovative approach to physics, and from what we’ve seen, Alyx will continue that legacy. Finding resources such as ammunition and medkits won’t simply be a case of blindly walking past them. You’ll need to search across shelves and scavenge through containers with your bare hands, picking them up and manually applying them.

Combat will be similarly involved, with Alyx needing to dynamically hide behind walls and other methods of cover, avoiding gunfire while waiting for the perfect oppurtunity to hit back. We hope it’s more than a shooting gallery like a number of other VR titles, spliced together with intricate puzzles and freeform exploration.

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