Why Half-Life: Alyx has to be a VR game

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Half-Life: Alyx

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I know, I know, you’re probably sick of seeing all the ‘Half-Life: Alyx’ headlines. But there’s been a lot of controversy surrounding the game lately. With only 3 weeks left to go until release we finally got our first good look at the kind of gameplay players would experience in the Half-Life 2 prequel. However, this was met with a lot of backlash as most of the community wondered why HL: Alyx had to be a VR game, citing that modders will come up with a way to play the game in a non-VR format.

But the point of Half-Life: Alyx is to bring a full-scale AAA title to VR platforms. We keep forgetting that virtual reality is still in its infancy, not it’s prime. So developers need more of a push to create these types of games for VR, and Valve wants to start that push with Alyx’s release.

Speaking to the press, Robin Walker, a game designer and programmer at Valve, stated that “there were a lot of players who wanted experiences that were more ambitious in scope and depth,”- when speaking of releasing The Lab when the Vive was available – ”we thought we were in a position to help provide that. Now, four years later, there are a lot more developers who share these goals, and we’re hoping games like Half-Life: Alyx continue to encourage that even further,

So whilst it may not be the answer you were looking for, Valve is trying to VR out there more. Virtual Reality needs more AAA games, but developers won’t make them without a large enough audience. Arguably, making the next Half-Life game – after a very long hiatus – a VR exclusive is exactly the kind of push the market needs. More people will buy VR and see it as a worthwhile platform, which means prices will go down in the future as the market becomes larger.

Valve did say that they see this as a return to the franchise, not the end of it, so we will be seeing more Half-Life games in the future. Whether they will be VR exclusives is anyone’s guess, but if Valve is smart then they will focus on developing more games that aren’t all entirely VR exclusive.

With the announcement of the Vive Cosmos family, it looks like we’ll be getting another addition to one of the most affordable ways to experience Virtual Reality, so the future’s looking bright for VR and VR gaming.

What do you think? Is Half-Life: Alyx the necessary push to get more players/developers into VR? Was Valve right in making Alyx a VR exclusive? Let us know your thoughts!