Half-Life: Alyx was first announced in November and officially released two days ago (to rave reviews, we might add). Fans of the Half-Life franchise were either enthused or bummed out by the fact that it is VR-only, depending on if they owned a VR set or not. But that may not even matter in the long run. The devs of the game suspect that Half-Life: Alyx will be modded to be a ‘regular’ game. Eventually..
Valve’s Robin Walker worked on Half-Life: Alyx, and explains to Polygon that the game was entirely designed for VR. He emphasizes that the latest Half-Life entry is specifically intended for the niche platform. And yet, he suggests that someone, somewhere is working on a ‘port’ of Half-Life: Alyx for a regular PC. But according to the Australian dev, it won’t be as good as the original version.
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. (…) If people play [a modded version on a standard display] and say this 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.
It is interesting to see what would happen if someone modded Alyx to be playable on a regular PC. Many gameplay mechanics are designed to be enhanced by the fact that players actually perform the actions in the game. Moreover, much of the strength of Alyx lies in the fact that you can interact with everything, as if it were the real world. That makes fighting more immersive, and those damned Headcrabs even more scary as they actually launch themselves at your face.
Funnily enough, after the announcement of Alyx, we wrote an article suggesting games like this would finally take VR mainstream. But the opposite could also be true. If non-VR gamers could enjoy a modified (if slightly watered down) version of VR blockbuster games in a traditional form, there’s no need for the technology to be adopted by most gamers.
For now though, Half-Life: Alyx is only available trough Steam, using a VR headset. Would you prefer a traditional (modded) version of Half-Life: Alyx or do you agree with Walker that it has to be experiences in virtual reality? Let us know in the comments.