Half-Life: Alyx looks great and all, but why didn’t Valve just make Half-Life 3? A new video interview with Geoff Keighley and Valve’s David Speyrer, Robin Walker, and Dario Casali sheds a little light on that mystery.
Walker suggests that Valve has avoided Half-Life 3 because the company is terrified by the challenge of creating a new sequel that can live up to the originals. Valve ultimately found the bravery to revisit the franchise through VR, but while the company has admitted that more Half-Life games are on the way, fans may never get what they’ve been clamoring for.
I mean, in all honesty, back in 2016, when we started this… I mean, Half-Life was just terrifying. Half-Life 3, terrifyingly daunting prospect, right? And I think to some extent, VR was a way we could fool ourselves into believing we had a way to do this.
Because, by starting with VR and then trying to think about Half-Life and how it worked with it and playtesting those, you’re immediately in a space where we have something we understand well, Half-Life’s core gameplay, and a new platform with new prospects and new possibilities and we can do that translation, and then we can watch people play, and so within a week or two we’re starting to learn. We are able to watch someone go through it. And so it was really easy to not try and think about the big picture of, “Oh, we’re making Half-Life 3”. We could just focus and figure out what people enjoy in this, and then make forward progress.
And in some ways, VR was a little bit, like the way the Gravity Gun helped us in Half-Life 2. It became the tentpole that you could wrap so much around. The innovation around it. And so VR became this thing that we could wrap everything around. Whereas Half-Life 3, if it’s like, “Hey, tomorrow you are working on Half-Life 3!” and you are like, “Oh God!” Terrifying.
Valve also confirmed that Half-Life: Alyx would not be getting a traditional port that could be played with mouse and keyboard. Apparently, the VR mechanics are so complex that the team would have to map a an entire portion of the keyboard just for door interaction.
We would love to be delivering a version of this that you could play with a mouse and a keyboard. But like, as we said, it began as an exploration of VR. The more we used the controllers and the headset, we realized the the amount of interactions this gives, the amount of possibilities these things give us. The more we explored this, the more we realized that there’s so much opportunity that we can’t really translate back to the keyboard.
When you can track your hands separately from your head. They are all 3D space, all simultaneously tracking and moving, you just can’t get that with a mouse and keyboard. And when you put that into game mechanics, the kinds of interactions that we can do now, we couldn’t possibly do with a mouse and keyboard.