Why Half-Life: Alyx Isn't The "Terrifyingly Daunting Prospect" Of Half-Life 3

Though the third game in the franchise, Valve does not want players to view Half-Life: Alyx as Half-Life 3.

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Valve has released additional details for Half-Life: Alyx, a VR Half-Life pre-sequel in the first trailer for the game, including a scheduled release date of March 2020 for all SteamVR-compatible headsets. In development, Valve did not want to refer to Half-Life: Alyx as "Half-Life 3" because the prospect of creating a game with that title is too "terrifyingly daunting."

"In 2016, when we started [Half-Life: Alyx], Half-Life 3 was a terrifyingly daunting prospect and VR was a way to fool ourselves into believing we had a way to do this," Valve game designer Robin Walker told Geoff Keighley in a video interview. "Because by starting with VR and thinking about Half-Life and how it worked with it and playtesting those, you're immediately in a space where we have something we understand well, Half-Life's core gameplay, and a new platform, prospect, possibilities, and we can do that translation and then we can watch people play it."

"So within a week or two, we could start to learn and watch someone go through it," he continued. "So it was really easy to not think about the big picture in making Half-Life 3 and just focus on figuring out what people enjoy about this and make forward progress."

The project that would ultimately become Half-Life: Alyx has always been designed to be played solely in VR. However, originally, Valve considered basing the game off of some of its other franchises. "We explored different franchises," Valve software developer David Speyrer told Keighley. "We kind of ruled out multiplayer just because of the small audience for VR, and other issues as well with VR avatars and things like that. We settled on Portal or Half-Life as interesting. And Portal is so much about flinging yourself through space and through portals that we thought, 'Well, we're just going to make people sick with this game.' A full-on Portal game seemed challenging."

Half-Life: Alyx is already available for purchase, and pre-ordering the game nets you a 10% discount--knocking the price down from $60 USD to $54 USD. Valve Index VR headset owners get the game for free.

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