It may seem like an age ago with everything going on in the world but it’s only been eight months since Valve released Half-Life: Alyx into the world and set a new standard for virtual reality (VR) gaming. For those that love both the videogame and the whole franchise itself, Valve has now released the Developer Commentary so you can learn more about the process that went into its creation.
It should be obvious but the commentary is best left alone until you’ve complete Half-Life: Alyx at least once as it does contain spoilers. Unlike Half-Life: Alyx – Final Hours, the documentary by Geoff Keighley which you have to purchase, the new commentary is built into the title; just start a new game with Developer Commentary enabled.
You’ll then be treated to over three hours of audio from the team, covering 147 different points of interest across Half-Life: Alyx’s design, art, animation, rendering, sound and more. Valve notes in a blog post that “When you play in commentary mode, you will see a floating headset at each point of interest. To listen, just grab the headset and put it on your head. A commentary status panel will be displayed above your off hand, showing the playback progress and the name of the speaker. If you like, you can remove the headset to stop playback. When you drop it, it will return to its original location.”
Because of the pandemic the team wasn’t able to use Valve’s fancy recording studio, with staff making the best of their remote working situation. This was actually already in place before the lockdown started, which is why the videogame launch wasn’t delayed.
Just like the main experience which tries to be as inclusive as possible for all gamers, the commentary has subtitles which cover a wide variety of languages, available in English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Castilian Spanish, Latin American Spanish, Russian, Polish, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese.
Half-Life: Alyx was an instant success and became the perfect reason to own a PC VR compatible headset. VRFocus said in its review: “A stunningly rich experience from start to finish, Half-Life: Alyx is one of the best VR titles available, a perfect showcase for what VR gaming is capable of. It doesn’t exactly break new ground, instead providing familiar Half-Life gameplay all wrapped up in a highly polished VR gift bag.”
If there’s ever a reason to head back into the City 17 then free content is always a good one. For further updates keep reading VRFocus.