Half-Life: Alyx – Your questions, answered

In about a month’s time, fans of Valve’s seminal Half-Life IP will get to once again explore the series’ unique sci-fi world…though not in the way they likely expected. Rather than a new episode for Half-Life 2 or even a proper sequel like the fabled white whale that is Half-Life 3, Valve’s next proper Half-Life project is a virtual reality prequel game called Half-Life: Alyx.

As its name implies, Half-Life: Alyx puts players in the role of Alyx Vance, an NPC ally introduced in Half-Life 2, in a prequel adventure set before Half-Life 2’s events. The new game will naturally allow players to explore, fight, and solve puzzles, only this time around they’ll be doing so within the full immersion of VR. Below, we’ve rounded up and provided answers for all the pertinent questions regarding Half-Life: Alyx’s release schedule, story, gameplay, and more.

When Does Half Life: Alyx come out?

Half-Life: Alyx will launch on March 23, 2020. The game is available for pre-order via Steam, with all pre-orders receiving a 10 percent discount (pre-order customers only pay $54 rather than the game’s full $60 price).

Will Half-Life Alyx Be VR-Only?

Unfortunately yes, you’ll need a VR headset to play Half-Life: Alyx. The game was built from the ground up with VR in mind which means it doesn’t even include a traditional mouse/keyboard control option. The good news is that Half-Life: Alyx will be playable on all PC-compatible VR headsets including the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

If you were lucky enough to snag a Valve Index VR headset before Half-Life: Alyx’s announcement caused a surge in sales and subsequent back order, you’ll actually get a copy of the game for free along with a few extra bonuses like unique in-game weapon skins.

What Are Half-Life: Alyx’s PC Requirements?

You won’t need a super-beefy PC to meet Half-Life: Alyx’s minimum system requirements, but if your current gaming rig is more on the low or mid-range level, you might want to invest in a few upgrades. Half-Life: Alyx’s minimum system requirements are as follows:

Is Half-Life: Alyx Coming To Other Platforms?

For the time being, Half-Life: Alyx will be PC-only. However, Valve has stated that it could invest further in the Half-Life property if Alyx winds up being a success (which it most likely will be), so it’s possible the game could eventually be ported over to other VR platforms like PlayStation VR. Upcoming gaming consoles like the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 will also likely have some sort of VR capability, so an eventual console port of Half-Life: Alyx shouldn’t be ruled out entirely.

What Game Engine Is Powering Half-Life: Alyx?

Half-Life: Alyx will use Valve’s in-house Source 2 engine, the same engine that’s currently powering more recent Valve game releases like Dota Underlords and Artifact.

Will Half-Life: Alyx Have The Gravity Gun?

Not quite. While the iconic gravity gun won’t show up in Half-Life: Alyx, players will have access to a pair of “gravity gloves” which essentially serve the same purpose, i.e. allowing them to manipulate the environment in fun ways. All of the game’s firearm weapons will also be one-handed, which means players will always be able to deploy gravity glove abilities using their off hand.

What Does Half-Life: Alyx’s Story Entail?

Valve has been careful not to reveal too much about Half-Life: Alyx’s story, but we do know a bit about what’s new and what fans of previous games will assuredly recognize. As we previously mentioned, Alyx’s story is a prequel set after the events of the original Half-Life but before the events of Half-Life 2. Players control Alyx Vance as she works alongside her father Dr. Eli Vance to fight back against the oppressive Combine forces who seek to subjugate humanity.

Half-Life: Alyx will be set in City 17, the same location from Half-Life 2, and it will feature more than a few recognizable friends and foes. Along with Alyx and her father, players will encounter iconic enemies like headcrabs and barnacles, and they’ll even cross paths with the enigmatic figure known as G-Man.   

Will Half-Life: Alyx Have Multiplayer?

Half-Life: Alyx will sadly not have any sort of multiplayer component, though it will ship with a suite of Source 2-powered community creation tools (including Hammer, Valve’s level authoring tool). These tools will allow users to create and share their own custom VR environments within the game.

Will Alyx Speak During The Game?

She will indeed. While the protagonist of previous Half-Life games, the bespectacled everyman Gordon Freeman, was known for being a silent protagonist, Valve felt that giving Alyx a voice would ultimately help bolster the new game’s narrative, and explained as much in an interview with PC Gamer back in 2019. To help show that Half-Life: Alyx’s version of Alyx Vance is younger than she is in Half-Life 2, Valve also made the tough choice of recasting her voice actress, replacing Merle Dandridge with Ozioma Akagha.

And speaking (ha) of iconic voices, there are certainly a few that existing Half-Life fans will recognize as they play through Half-Life: Alyx. Ellen McLain (a.k.a. GLaDOS from Valve’s Portal series) will return to provide Combine broadcast announcements, Tony Todd will once again voice the alien Vortigaunts, and it really wouldn’t be a proper Half-Life game if Mike Shapiro wasn’t drawing players into a subtle state of unease with his sinister G-Man voice.

Half-Life: Alyx will launch for VR via Steam on March 23.