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“It was very clear from those first experiments that VR was going to be very fertile ground for Half-Life.”
- Valve’s Robin Walker talks Half-Life’s VR debut in an interview with Game Informer.
This month's release of Half-Life: Alyx marks the series first entry in 13 years, and Valve’s first feature-length venture into VR. Speaking to Game Informer, Valve’s Robin Walker dove into how that the idea of a VR Half-Life game took shape, and what that early prototyping process looked like.
“Our prototype work on this project began by simply taking assets and systems from Half-Life 2 into VR,” explains Walker. “That was a very quick route to getting some deep mechanical exploration up and running in the engine. But as it turned out, Half-Life's set of mechanics was a surprisingly natural fit for VR, even before any of the necessary work was done to deeply integrate them into the medium.”
Walker tells Game Informer that many simple first-person shooter elements like something as simple as aiming a gun end up “having a very unique feeling in VR” but that tweaks to traditional Half-Life design and mechanics were still necessary to fine tune Alyx for virtual reality.
“So there's a lot in this game that Half-Life players will deeply understand from the start, but they will be experiencing them in a radically new context – as did we,” he explains. A more in-depth discussion of those shifts, and more from Walker on the next Half-Life entry, can be found in the full Game Informer interview.