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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.

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