Half-Life: Alyx is officially coming March 2020, and here’s your first look

I have seven screenshots and a press release from Valve sitting in front of me. I’ve had two days to process this. But I’m still in disbelief. Thirteen years after the most infamous cliffhanger in video game history, Half-Life is finally coming back in March 2020 — as a VR game called Half-Life: Alyx. [1]

Valve tells us it’s a VR-exclusive. And it’s a prequel of sorts, set between Half-Life and Half-Life 2, in the days when Alyx Vance and her father Eli are building the resistance to the Combine’s alien occupation of Earth. You’ll play Alyx, and you’ll be wielding a way to manipulate gravity once more: the “Gravity Gloves,” which we can see Alyx using to pick up a pistol from a distance and interact with puzzles in the game’s first trailer — which you’ll find a little ways below.

Here’s Valve’s description of the kind of gameplay you should expect:

Lean to aim around a broken wall and under a Barnacle to make an impossible shot. Rummage through shelves to find a healing syringe and some shotgun shells. Manipulate tools to hack alien interfaces. Toss a bottle through a window to distract an enemy. Rip a Headcrab off your face and throw it at a Combine soldier.

But if all these things make you think it’s just going to be another glorified tech demo for VR, you might want to read Valve programmer David Speyrer’s answers to a few questions we asked:

1) “It’s not a side story, nor an episodic one — it’s the next part of the Half-Life story, in a game around the same length as Half-Life 2.”

2) “While it does take place before the events of Half-Life 2, we actually recommend that you play through Half-Life 2: Episode 2 before you play Half-Life: Alyx, for reasons that will become clear as you progress.”

3) “Of course, we’ll have to wait and see how people react to Half-Life: Alyx once it’s out, but we’d love to continue pushing forward.”

Not a tech demo. Not necessarily just a prequel. And even if not in March, it sounds like there’s a chance us Half-Life fans will finally get some closure.

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