Valve Explains Why Half Life: Alyx is A VR Only Game
Half Life: Alyx is going to be a VR only title for the foreseeable future and the reason behind it makes a lot of sense.
As if a scattered dream somewhat became reality, we learned this week that we are getting a new Half Life game, but it isn’t the highly wanted Half Life 3. Half Life: Alyx is a new entry in the franchise that takes place before the events of Half Life 2. The title will be playable exclusively in VR and from what it sounds like it won’t make its way to consoles anytime soon once the game launches. A Valve developer Dario Casali explains the reasoning behind the decision in an interview with Geoff Keighley who is known for being the creator and host of The Game Awards.
In the interview, Casali explains that the game will not come to consoles because of the way the game is built and designed it would not work with traditional controls. “We would love to be delivering a version of this where you can play with a mouse and keyboard, but as we’ve said, (Half-Life: Alyx) began as an exploration of VR,” said Casali. “The more we used the controllers and the headset–the amount of interactions and possibilities these things gave us– and the more we explored it, the more we realized that there’s so much opportunity that we can’t translate back to the keyboard when you can track your hands separately from your head. They’re all in 3D space–all simultaneously tracking and moving. And when you put that into game mechanics with the kinds of interactions you can do now, you couldn’t possibly do that with a mouse and keyboard.”
Based on the announcements trailer showing it all off in action I can see where Valve is coming from. What we saw is merely a small glimpse of the numerous interactions players will likely have throughout. It may be frustrating to Half Life fans who aren’t a part of the VR space, but it seems that it wouldn’t fundamentally be the same game if the controls were brought somewhere outside of it. “We would have to map an entire section of the keyboard just to interacting with doors if you wanted to have the functionality,” said Casali. “The more we explored those mechanics, the more we realized that in order for us to deliver a keyboard-and-mouse experience, we’d have to ship a game that’s missing those interactions, and they were playtesting so well, that we didn’t feel like that was a good idea.”
Half Life: Alyx is set to release in March 2020 and will be playable on Valve Index (for free!), HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality, Oculus Rift, and Oculus Quest. You can watch the full Valve interview below.