Skip to main content

A new Half-Life game is official, and it isn’t what you’d expect

The painful wait is coming to an end. The game announcement of the decade just came in the form of a tweet from Valve, and it’s a new Half-Life game that harnesses the spirit of the long-awaited Half-Life 3, even if that’s not technically its name.

Valve is calling the game Half-Life: Alyx, and it will be a “flagship VR game,” likely to highlight the capabilities of the Valve Index headset.

This announcement comes directly from Valve, so there’s little room to question the authenticity. The company plans to share more about the game this Thursday, November 21, at 10am Pacific.

Valve’s tweet doesn’t come with so much as a picture of the upcoming game, but there’s plenty to unpack from what little was said.

A VR game and a new star

Valve’s announcement makes it clear the new game is built for virtual reality. And considering the game’s title — Half-Life: Alyx — it seems a sure bet the main role will now go to Alyx Vance, a character who played a central role in the events of Half-Life 2, and has a score to settle after the end of Half-Life 2: Episode 2.

As previous Half-Life games have looked towards new gaming technology to drive the puzzle gameplay (the physics in Half-Life 2 were a head-turner for its time), it makes some sense for the new title to find a home in another new game technology. Rumor had already circulated that the Valve Index headset would deliver a new Half-Life game. Now it’s coming to fruition.

The technology inside the Valve Index in creates interesting gameplay opportunities. Valve’s controllers for the Index have individual tracking for each finger, creating a deeper sense of presence in the VR space, and more functional control of objects in VR.

That could mean new and unique gameplay opportunities in Half-Life: Alyx. However, a move by Valve to limit Half-Life: Alyx to just the Valve Index seems unlikely, as that would spurn a large portion of VR early adopters who instead chose Oculus, HTC Vive, or any Windows MR headsets.

We’ll have additional information on the new game when Valve announces more Thursday, or as any information comes out between now and the then. Hopefully, Valve will clarify whether this is effectively Half-Life 3, or a smaller chunk akin to the episodes Valve released after Half-Life 2.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Knapp
The cheapest VR headsets for Half-Life: Alyx

It's not Half-Life 3, but Half-Life: Alyx is the closest we'll get. Breaking a nearly decadelong hiatus from game development, Half-Life: Alyx is a return to form for multibillion-dollar company that runs Steam.

Valve had a good reason to return, too. Not only does Alyx revitalize a series that fans have been waiting on for more than a decade, but it also offers a great excuse to buy into Valve's high-end Index VR headset. One thousand dollars is what you'll need to get started from scratch, and even if you have some old HTC Vive sensors kicking around, you'll still need to spend $750 for Valve's headset and fancy finger-tracking controllers (plus wait around two months for a unit to ship).

Read more
The best Half-Life Alyx mods
Jedi Alyx

It's strange to think now, but so many amazing and popular games were created out of mods for the original Half-Life. Without this game, which on its own has influenced the FPS genre in many ways, we wouldn't have games like Counter Strike or Team Fortress that start off as fan mods. Half-Life 2 introduced the Source engine and even more amazing mods, so it would only stand to reason that the next title would also open the doors for a new slew of mods.

While many were hoping the next official game would be the infamous Half-Life 3, what we got instead was the virtual reality (VR) exclusive Half-Life: Alyx. Being one of, if not the best, made-for-VR games released, the potential for mods is nearly limitless. The game itself is only a year old, but already we have more than enough fan mods worth highlighting to recommend for anyone who can't get enough VR goodness. Strap on your headset and try out the best Half-Life: Alyx mods.

Read more
Valve programmer reveals why there’s no crowbar in Half-Life: Alyx
half life 3 may come after alyx trailer

The crowbar, the iconic weapon of Half-Life protagonist Gordon Freeman, is nowhere to be found in Half-Life: Alyx, and Valve designer and programmer Robin Walker revealed why that is the case.

In an interview with Kotaku, Walker said that the Half-Life: Alyx development team “lost, like, a year and a half of our lives trying to get a crowbar in VR.”

Read more