After 13 years, we finally have a new Half-Life game to play, but there’s a huge problem for old-school fans: Alyx can only be played with an expensive VR set. That may not be the case for long, however.
Speaking with Polygon, Valve’s Robin Walker mentioned that a keyboard and mouse mod for Half-Life: Alyx was inevitable. But he – nor anyone on his team – seem particularly worried, as the game was specifically designed for VR and wouldn’t translate well to traditional controls.
“The answer to this diverges significantly depending on which members of the team you talk to, so this answer is definitely just from me,” Walker explained. “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 said. “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.”
“Yes, it’s going to happen. I’m fine with it, for the sake of the other members of the team I don’t want to say I encourage you to do it, but it’s going to happen,” Walker said. “I think people will then hopefully have an even greater understanding of why we decided to build the product in VR than they do now.”
Valve released Half-Life: Alyx to impressive reviews yesterday, and Gabe Newell himself offered the following statement: “Half-Life: Alyx represents the culmination of Valve’s technological advancement over the past few years. We have built SteamVR, our game engine, our tools, and VR hardware specifically to enable us to ship the best content we know how to create. Today, as we ship Alyx remotely from our homes, we are hoping that everyone stays safe and has a great time playing the game. Please let us know what you think.”
The VR exclusive managed to reach 43,000 concurrent players on Steam on its first day. These are pretty good numbers for a VR title, but it’s interesting to think about how much higher they’d be if Half-Life: Alyx was a traditional release.
Half Life: Alyx reached 43k concurrent players on Steam during launch day.— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) March 23, 2020
Is certainly a successful launch for a VR title and is already as high as Beat Saber VR’s peak concurrent player count on Steam.
However, it’s clear that the numbers are held back due to VR requirement. pic.twitter.com/BYXZAOdEoS