Half-Life: Alyx - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Matt Cox)

In Half-Life: Alyx you will be able to trap headcrabs, the prime nemesis of footlobsters, inside buckets. “It’ll move the bucket as it crawls around”, confirmed the Half-Life: Alyx team in yesterday’s Reddit Q&A, adding that “playtesters all keep reporting it as a bug”. I hadn’t given all that much thought to Half-Life: Alyx but this is honestly a game changer. It’s a little crystallisation of what a Half-Life VR game actually means; something I can clearly see myself doing and enjoying.

Lauren’s already reported that Valve are confident the game won’t be delayed, but I’ve scoured the AMA for other tasty titbits, such as the fact that the 80 people working on Alyx are the “largest single team” Valve’s ever had.


Half-Life: Alyx

When Valve officially unveiled Half-Life: Alyx late last year, there was perhaps a little skepticism that the game would manage to meet its projected March 2020 release date - perfectly understandable given the preceding twelve year wait between series instalments. However, Valve now says its "confident" that Alyx will launch on time.

That reassuring tidbit of information comes courtesy of a new AMA (short for Ask Me Anything, if you're unfamiliar) on Reddit, in which Valve's Robin Walker, Jamaal Bradley, David Feise, Greg Coomer, Corey Peters, Erik Wolpaw, Tristan Reidford, Chris Remo, Jake Rodkin, and Kaci Aitchison Boyle all answered community questions on the game.

It was not, in truth, the most revelatory of back-and-forths - anything resembling juicy information remained firmly under wraps - but the team was generally willing and able to respond to broader questions surrounding Alyx's development.

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Half-Life: Alyx - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Lauren Morton)

Delay season has hit the big games of this year pretty hard. Several large releases have been pushed back from their early 2020 estimates to several months down the line. Some haven’t given new estimated dates at all. Today, Valve says they’re confident that they won’t miss Half-Life: Alyx‘s planned release.


Half-Life: Alyx

Do you have questions about Half-Life: Alyx—like, maybe, when are we going to get a proper release date? If yes, you'll want to tune into Reddit tomorrow at 9 am PT/12 pm ET for an AMA with the development team.

The presence of the word "some" can't be overlooked, but even so the reaction on the Half-Life subreddit where the AMA will take place is bouncing rapidly between excitement and surprise at Valve's apparent newfound openness. As redditor DaftVortigaunt put it, "If you had told me a year ago Valve would suddenly be openly communicating with their fanbase, I would not have believed it. Looking forward to it!"

Or, as santumerino said more succinctly, "What the fuck, Valve communicating?"

It's not known who from Valve will be attending the AMA, but the moderators are clearly anticipating trouble: They warned that the AMA will be focused on Half-Life: Alyx, and asked all participants to "please limit jokes about Half-Life 3."

We'll be keeping an eye on the AMA, as we do, and we'll let you know what interesting things are said. And in case you missed it, Valve made the entire Half-Life Collection—Half-Life, Half-Life 2, HL2: Episodes 1 and 2—free to play today, until Half-Life: Alyx launches.

Half-Life: Alyx - Gregori

Half-Life: Alyx is coming in March, and we are celebrating early by making all games in the Half-Life Collection FREE to play for Steam users, from now until the day it launches!

Half-Life: Alyx is set before the events of Half-Life 2 and the episodes, but the games share characters and story elements. The Half-Life: Alyx team believes that the best way to enjoy the new game is to play through the old ones, especially Half-Life 2 and the episodes, so we want to make that as easy as possible.

From now until Half-Life: Alyx launches, visit the game page of each Half-Life game to install it and play as much as you want, right up until the day Half-Life: Alyx is released!

If you already have Steam installed, you can click the following links to start playing now!
Half-Life 2
Half-Life 2: Episode One
Half-Life 2: Episode Two

Also included in this bundle and available to play for free are:
Half-Life: Opposing Force
Half-Life: Blue Shift
Team Fortress Classic

If you don't have Steam, you can download it here.
Left 4 Dead

Rumours that Valve is currently working on a new Left 4 Dead game may have been gathering pace of late, but your hopes are about to be dashed; the company has now stepped forward to categorically state that it's "absolutely not" doing any such thing.

Whispers of a new Left 4 Dead title have been heard from several sources in recent times. Back in December, Valve News Network's well-connected Tyler McVicker told Twitter followers that "Left 4 Dead VR is real", while, earlier today, Chinese HTC president Alvin Wang Graylin shared slides from a recent VR presentation making mention of Left 4 Dead 3.

Following that revelation, Valve has finally spoken up, presumably in an attempt to prevent fans from frothing themselves into an irreversible frenzy. In a statement provided to IGN, the company said it's "absolutely not working on anything L4D related now, and haven't for years."

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Half-Life: Alyx

In late November, we reported that Valve's Index VR headset was selling out in a hurry, leading to shipping delays on most Index packages—headset-only, controllers-only, and headset and controller bundles—in the US and Canada. Now, according to Road to VR, it's sold out everywhere, and may not be back in time to handle the demand for Half-Life: Alyx.

Alyx, as we all know, is one of the big factors behind the pre-release popularity of the Index. VR hasn't set the world on fire yet, but the opportunity to play the first new Half-Life game in 13 years (and counting) is a whole different beast. That's something people really want to do (some people, anyway), and some of them seem prepared to drop serious bucks to do it.

Horsing around with a VPN confirms the Road to VR report: Instead of a purchase option, the Index page in Canada, the US, the UK, and Finland displays regional pricing and a "notify me" button that will line you up for an FYI when the various components are available again. The one place that apparently still has some Index stock kicking around is Japan, where distribution is handled by Degica. "Full kits" are sold out, as are standalone controllers and base stations, but headsets and headsets bundled with controllers are still available for purchase.

A Valve rep told the site that it is "working hard to build more units and meet the high demand," and that it hopes to have the device back in stock before Half-Life: Alyx ships. That's currently expected to happen sometime in March, although a firm release date hasn't been set yet.

Half-Life: Alyx

Now that 2020 is here we're having a little look ahead at some of the year's new games that have us intrigued.

I can't stop rewatching the Half-Life: Alyx trailer, and it's not just because it's one of the more elegantly put-together teasers of recent years. It's not just because it's another Half-Life game. It's not just because I'm scanning it for clues of what's to come.

It's because of the flow of the thing - and I guess that means the flow of the main character. Half-Life: Alyx takes the gravity gun and puts it on your hands. Ingenious! Even so, look at the handling here: pushing objects aside to get a better view, plucking doodads from distant guards, insouciantly flicking ammo clips into pistols and ramming them home.

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Half-Life: Alyx

For the first time in 12 years, voice actor Mike Shapiro has taken on the voice of the G-Man in yet another teaser ahead of the release of Half-Life: Alyx. Shapiro posted a short video on Twitter with a monologue as the character, complete with stilted tone, odd speech pattern, and all the other mannerisms that haunted the Half-Life series over the years. 

Here’s what he says:“Should old acquaintances be forgot, then, after so much… time. Some things can prove difficult to remember. See you in the new year. And, do prepare for… consequences, hrm? Mhm.”

Half-Life: Alyx is coming in 2020, and the G-Man will return with it—he features prominently at the end of the Half-Life: Alyx trailer. Perhaps he'll elaborate on his and Alyx's relationship, since we know they met at least once in Half-Life 2. If you’re not all caught up on Alyx, she has a new voice actor and it had to be a VR game. Here’s everything we know about Half-Life: Alyx. Also, PC Gamer staff can’t agree on whether or not Alyx should or should not have arms (in the game).

Half-Life: Alyx

The YouTube channel Tested went to Valve recently to play a few hours of an early build of Half-Life: Alyx on a variety of different VR setups, from Valve Index to Windows Mixed Reality and the original HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Though they're focused on the headsets rather than the game—which is clearly still in a very early state—they do seem quite impressed by it. 

As Tested cofounder Will Smith (not that Will Smith) says, "The amount and quality of art in this game is outstanding. You can interact with so much stuff, you can force-pull it over to you. The verbs that are accessible to you as a player are amazing, and the sound is spectacular. There's dynamic sound all around you, You can hear things above and below you and the levels are vertical and expansive. I've been thrilled so far."

As well as testing Half-Life: Alyx with a variety of headsets and controllers they tried both teleporting-to-move and push-to-move, as well as playing it standing and seated, and seem impressed by every possible configuration.

The short amount of game footage shown mostly involves explosive barrels being used against barnacles, objects being hurled with gravity gloves, zombies getting shot, and headcrabs being manhandles. Someone has stitched together all the gameplay footage if that's all you're here for, though be warned they've soundtracked it with monologues from Half-Life 2 and the music from Boneworks which is a bit distracting.


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