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Half-Life: Alyx brings us back to City 17 in six weeks

A new Half-Life game is launching in a little over a month. Huh, all sounds very real when you put it like that. It’s only been, what, thirteen years since the last one? Today, Valve revealed that Freeman-free VR prequel Half-Life: Alyx has nailed down a March 23rd release date. Assuming Valve are right about getting through the next six weeks without delay, we’ll all be hopping back on the train to City 17 in six weeks time.

Well, some of us. VR is still hovering just a little outta my price range, so I’m afraid my headcrabs will be staying firmly locked in two dimensions for the time being. Ah, well at least Valve’s announcement came with some lovely new screenshots to fawn over.

As spotted by Joe Parlock’s hawkish eyes on Twitter, someone’s gone and left the big ol’ Source Engine error placeholder in that first shot. An oversight? Sure. But it brings a tear to this old mapmaker’s eye.

Preordering Alyx will let you linger in City 17 a little early. Not in the game, mind, but in some Steam VR Home environments themed in Half-Life’s oppressive city. Valve also note that they’ll have word on Index headset availability “soon”. To be expected, really, given that excitement for a new Half-Life emptied their VR warehouses.

Honestly, learning Half-Life: Alyx was a VR exclusive took the wind out of my sails. It does sound proper brilliant, though. Like Matt, small details like being able to put a bucket on a headcrab and watch it panic helped crystalise what Half-Life in VR could be for me. Unfortunately, that shifts it from “wasn’t interested” to “very interested, cannot afford.” Rubbish.

If, somehow, March 23rd is still too far away, you could always go bash through every other Half-Life game for free – at least, ’til Alyx hits Steam next month. Or if you’re itching to use your headset, you could check out our recently updated list of the best VR games.

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Natalie Clayton

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