Half-Life: Alyx has been released for a week. The first returns are rave and praise a title that perfectly masters VR. However, some would like to play without buying adequate equipment.
[Mise à jour le 26 mars 2020 à 17h10] Tyler McVicker is an avid gamer, who is notably responsible for the Valve News Network site. In a stream released a few days ago, he explored the files for the game Half-Life: Alyx. Its main discovery is the existence of a command, present in the developer console “vr_enable_fake_vr_test”. The latter, which is thus included natively in the software, allows the hands of Alyx to appear, and therefore the use of weapons. In fact, this allows you to shoot, and therefore playability, without going through VR equipment.
There is still a lot to do to arrive at a functional mod. For the moment, the hands, generated by the entry of this command, are awkwardly synchronized with the character, and badly placed on the screen. However, knowledge of this line of code suggests that Valve, during internal testing, had created a playable version of the title without virtual reality equipment. For modders, it’s a boon, since they now have fertile soil to start working. On this subject, the title designer, Robin Walker, said recently “I know it will happen”, when a reporter asked him if a non-VR mod would be possible one day. According to him, the game will be much less fun from a traditional FPS point of view than by exploiting VR technology anyway.
In the same interview, he adds that this can lead to a better understanding of this VR exclusivity policy, for a resuscitated and emblematic franchise like Half-Life: “I think people [après avoir joué à un mod non VR] I hope, then, will have a better understanding of the reasons why we decided to build the product in VR than today “.
The game offered if you buy the Vive Cosmos Elite
If you buy a HTC Vive Cosmos Elite headset (available at 999 €!), You will get a free code to download Half-Life: Alyx. This offer also applies to those who pre-ordered the helmet. The manufacturer indicates that it is of limited duration, without providing further details.
These headphones offer a combined resolution of 2880 × 1700 pixels, all with a refresh rate of 90 Hz. Enough to benefit from a complete experience on the new Valve game, which is not currently accessible to the majority players, not being equipped with VR. For its part, Valve has already announced that the game will be added automatically and free of charge to the Steam collections of owners of the Valve Index, the in-house VR headset. The two helmets are largely impacted by the situation of the coronavirus which affects their production. It will therefore probably be necessary to be patient.
Half-Life: What is Alyx?
Half-Life: Alyx is a complete virtual reality game. It will take advantage of the Valve Index, the in-house VR headset. Fortunately, compatibility is not exclusive and the majority of the models on the market will be usable. Polygon indicates that all headsets on PC will be compatible. Thus, it will for example be compatible with the Oculus Quest, the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive Pro.
The story takes place between the two episodes of Half-Life. It will therefore not be a direct result. As the name suggests, this new opus is more interested in the character of Alyx Vance, which you embody. The player will discover in depth his past, his relationship to resistance and his role in it. The script was entrusted to Erik Wolpaw, Jay Pinkerton and Marc Laidlaw. They are known for their participation in Portal, and the last one was consulted (he contributed to the two episodes of Half-Life).
For the moment, the game is a Windows exclusive. It will be released on March 23, 2020 on Steam. Valve announces that more than 80 people are working on the project (including several from the first Half-Life), which is a complete game, and not a VR experience of a few hours. In addition, Steam currently offers a 10% discount for any pre-order (€ 44.99 instead of € 49.99).
A scheduled suite?
Robin Walker, a developer at Valve launches a torrent of hopes for fans of the franchise. He recently confided in an interview with our colleagues from the Game Informer site. “Half-Life means a lot to us, and it has been incredibly rewarding to get to know its characters, settings and mechanics again.“He said in particular that many members of the team in charge of the production of this episode hoped to continue the adventure. According to him,”Half-Life Alyx is a return to this world, not the end of it“.
As a reminder, this opus is not a simple spin off, but a real sequel to the story of Half-life 2. The developers did not hesitate to recall that replaying the second title of the license would help the player during the adventure. The events are not, however, chronological since they are established between Half-Life and Half-Life 2.