Modders will make 'Half-Life 2' playable in virtual reality on current headsets

When the game launched in 2004, Half-Life 2 was widely heralded as one of the most immersive first-person shooters around. Now, a fan project is set to make Valve’s critically lauded sequel playable in virtual reality on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

Back when the current VR boom was just getting started, a talented team put together HLVR, a mod that allowed players to experience Half-Life 2 like never before using an Oculus Rift DK1 headset and a Razer Hydra motion controller. Unfortunately, that mod is currently only playable using older development kit headsets but members of the original team have been hard at work bringing it up to date.

The new version, dubbed Half-Life 2: VR, is packing several enticing features. The game looks great, with HDR lighting, and updates to effects, models, textures, and maps having been applied.

However, those are not the only improvements the team has made. In the original Half-Life 2, weapons were basic models that looked the same whenever they were put in the hands of the player character, Gordon Freeman — in Half-Life 2: VR, they are remodeled so that players can move them around and view them from any angle, adding to the sense of immersion.

There are even brand new reload gestures, according to a report from Road to VR. Apparently, the .357 revolver requires players to tilt the weapon to discharge spent cartridges, before flicking it back into place.

Half-Life 2: VR will be released for free, although players will need to own Half-Life 2, Episode 1, and Episode 2 to play it. The two episodes are not currently playable in VR mode, they are simply required for installation but the team hopes to add support sometime in the future.

The modders behind the project want to make it as easy as possible for fans to play the game in VR, so they are starting a Steam Greenlight campaign that is intended to make the mod available via Valve’s marketplace.