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'Half-Life: Alyx' creators explain how its VR gameplay will work

Rachel England
Contributing Writer
Valve

After more than 12 years, Valve is officially returning to the Half-Life universe, and in a suitably-futuristic VR fashion. Half-Life: Alyx, is slated to arrive on Steam on March 23rd, and while we've already seen some gameplay footage, we now have an idea of exactly how the VR component will work, thanks to commentary from Valve's Robin Walker and Corey Peters.

In an IGN exclusive, the pair explain that for many players, Alyx will be their first foray into VR gaming. As such, they took a number of measures to help newbies get acquainted with the technology. Shooting and reloading is a completely different ballgame to controller-based play, for example, so Alyx's starter levels involve lots of basic non-threatening enemies to give players the opportunity to learn that maneuver, before moving on to the trickier stuff.

They also explain how, during the testing stages, they found that because of the VR nature of the game players were far more likely to engage with their environments. As such, a lot of detail has gone into designing what would otherwise be considered background environments – much of it based on the way playtesters were reacting in VR.

Half-Life: Alyx is going to be a pivotal release for Valve. Not only does it resurrect a much-loved universe, but it's likely to be a major reason for many gamers to move into VR -- which is still not without its wrinkles. As such, it's got to get it right, and as the video above shows, it's well aware of the weight of expectation on its shoulders.