Valve Predicts Half-Life: Alyx Will Eventually Be Playable Without VR

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“I know it’s going to happen,” states Valve developer Robin Walker.

It’s hard to imagine playing Half-Life: Alyx on anything other than a VR headset. Valve’s prequel/sequel hybrid experience was designed from the ground up for the VR format. Put simply, the game wouldn’t be nearly as much fun to play on a standard monitor and controlled using a mouse and keyboard.

According to Valve’s Robin Walker, however, this won’t stop modders from eventually releasing a 2D version of the game that can be played without a VR headset. Walker is the co-creator of the original Team Fortress mod for Quake and has worked on classic Valve titles including Team Fortress Classic, Counter-Strike, and numerous Half-Life games. Based on his experience, he believes it’s only a matter of time until modders develop a non-VR port of the game.

(Image Credit: Valve Software)

“I know it’s going to happen,” said Walker while speaking to Polygon. When asked whether he and the team were concerned regarding the potential release of a 2D version of their game, he responded, “The answer to this diverges significantly depending on which members of the team you talk to, so this answer is definitely just from me. There are a set of people on the team that are concerned about that. Personally, I’m not concerned about it at all.”

“It will clearly demonstrate to people why we did this in VR,” Walker continued. “It will be a very crisp way of seeing all the stuff we got for the move into VR. If people play [a modded version on a standard display] and say this is is just as good, that will teach me a lot. I will realize I’m wrong, and we didn’t get as much as we thought, and I love to know whenever I’m wrong.”

Despite taking place in the sprawling urban jungle that is City 17, most of the time players will find themselves exploring enclosed environments and engaging in close-quarters combat. These intimate locations better highlight the immersive capabilities afforded by VR technology. Sifting through cupboards in search of spare ammo, grabbing random objects to use as shields against flying Headcrabs, rearranging large objects to bypass environmental roadblocks; all interactions that, while fun to perform in VR, would not translate nearly as well to the 2D format.

(Image Credit: Valve Software)

“It will clearly demonstrate to people why we did this in VR,” continued Walker. “It will be a very crisp way of seeing all the stuff we got for the move into VR. If people play [a modded version on a standard display] and say this is is just as good, that will teach me a lot. I will realize I’m wrong, and we didn’t get as much as we thought, and I love to know whenever I’m wrong.”

Half-Life: Alyx is available now on all SteamVR compatible headsets for $59.99.

Feature Image Credit: Valve Software

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