It's been 12 years since the last entry in Valve's Half-Life series. In that time, hopes for a follow-up have risen, fallen, morphed and ultimately faded as the company's focus has veered away from single-player, narrative experiences like Half Life and Portal. Now, thanks to an announcement on a relatively new Valve Twitter account, fans can look forward to diving back in to the Half Life universe. Welcome to Half Life: Alyx, Valve's flagship VR game.
Outside of rumours, not much is known about the game yet, full details will be fully revealed this Thursday, 21st November at 10am PT / 6PM GMT. Presumably, the game's focus will be on Alyx Vance, Gordon Freeman's companion throughout large sections of the Half Life 2 saga. If rumours are to be believed, the title will be a prequel to Half Life 2, and Gordon Freeman will not actually feature in this game at all.
Valve is emphasising that this is its flagship VR title, even in this early stage of announcement. Half Life as a series has historically been used by Valve to showcase grand innovations in game design and game-engine technology, the implications of Valve using Half Life to show off its VR technology are therefore staggering. If any single game has the potential to see VR reach its full potential and achieve must-have status, it's Half Life: Alyx.
Additional rumours, including details uncovered by Valve News Network and leaked in interviews by Geoff Keighley hint towards a new "Grabbity Gloves" mechanic and a March 2020 release date. It's suggested that Grabbity Gloves will be a take on the famous Gravity Gun of earlier Half Life titles, allowing players to reach out, grab and interact with the game world in a way that's natural for VR with its various motion-based controllers.
Expect more details to be revealed in the coming days and weeks for Half Life: Alyx in addition to the official unveiling on 21st November. For now, take solace in the fact that this is the closest Valve has been to that mystical "three" in quite some time.