In case you haven’t been keeping up to date with the latest news from Valve, there’s a new Half-Life game! Sadly it’s not Half-Life 3, but a new VR game titled Half-Life: Alyx. And in case you haven't been keeping track: there’s a load of screenshots leaked from the game courtesy of Valve News Network.
As usual Valve has been pretty innovative when it comes to the quality in their games. The incredibly small amount of games they have released to date are a testament to the ethos of quality over quantity, although the less said about Artifact, the better. Half-Life: Alyx seems to be a return to where Valve's strengths originally lay, particularly when it comes to boundary pushing graphical quality and immersion, this time in the realm of VR.
In this latest batch of leaked screenshots for HL: Alyx the attention to detail is outstanding: the folds, cracks and crinkles of the walls and the beautiful lighting are showcased in most of these screenshots. Even the signs are seriously high quality. We love a good sign texture, we do, especially when we've got a screen strapped within an inch of our eyeballs.
What’s interesting to note here is the lock on the door. If you remember in Half-Life 2: Episode 1 you would have to shoot locks to open doors, which sounds like a nefarious money-making scheme from the Guild of Locksmiths if ever we've seen one. But what I want to know is: can you pet the rat? Actually, that’s probably a bad idea... don’t pet the rat.
Another fun screenshot is this headcrab zombie with the headcrab removed, provided your idea of fun is some light mutilation. I guess you should have a little GORE WARNING for those with churning stomachs.
It’s a grotesque image that reminds me of a lot of body horror movies from the 80’s. I’m still preparing myself for the inevitable headcrab-facehugger moment when I play the game, though in all honesty seeing this screenshot has not helped.
But saying that, there’s not much else going on here in terms of game mechanics: so far we haven’t seen much outside of these leaked screens and that reveal trailer. Personally I’m not sure what will separate this game from other VR games and make the price tag worth it, outside of Valve's core tenets of immersive storytelling and groundbreaking visual design, all of which are feats largely possible on a standard monitor. However, Valve’s track record of pleasing and surprising fans does give us high hopes.
While there’s a lot to unpack here in terms of what’s going on in the story and potential theories, it's worth noting none of these screenshots are from Valve itself and therefore might not show everything Half-Life Alyx has to offer. The fact the models of the Combine officers have been redesigned after the game’s announcement (and the fact there’s an ‘error’ texture message in another screenshot) means this might not be representative of the final product, but damn does it still look good at least.
What do you think? Is Half-Life: Alyx on your wishlist? Will you buy a headset just for this game? Let us know in the discussion area!
Half-Life Alyx is out on Steam at some point during March 2020. Head on over to the game page to check up on the latest HL Alyx system specs.