Fans held out a mix of hope and skepticism about Valve returning to its flagship franchise, Half-Life. After 13 years, the world got the VR installment, Half-Life Alyx. Now Robin Walker, a veteran programmer at Valve, spoke to Polygon. The programmer has a similar kind of hope for the future that the next game will come sooner rather than later.
“We ended the game in the way you always end the game as a game developer, which is that the end is when you feel like now you really know how to make this game,” Walker told Polygon. “I’d like to believe that we’re as good as we’ve ever been at building Half-Life at this point, and I hope we continue to make some more. I don’t think there’s going to be another 13 years [until the next one], and if it is, I probably won’t be working on it. I’m too old for that.”
Half-Life fell into a void of uncertainty after years of silence since Half-Life 2: Episode 2 in 2007. The team worked on the third entry despite the astronomical expectations it has to meet across the episodic and mainline games. Walker continues about that experience when tinkering with the idea of Half-Life 3.
“In the past, if you’re one of the sets of people who are brave enough to work on something you had to admit to yourself could be Half-Life 3 … Half-Life 3 really always needed to answer the question of what is the opportunity, what is the big technological leap that you think we can use in some way to build some really interesting experience for the player? That’s a paralyzing thing to work on. It’s hard to sit down and say, ‘I’m going to write code on that today.’”
Eventually, that work flowed into a VR prototype. Valve put out its own headset, the Valve Index, which released June of last year, so the company had its own technology to implement a virtual reality title in its own way as an independent company. One thing leads to another with developing a possible Half-Life title, and Alyx was born.
“As soon as we built that prototype and put it in front of people, and talked to them afterward… it was obvious,” Walker said. “I know how to start writing code for this today, I know how to start working.”
Half-Life: Alyx launched yesterday, March 23 to raving reviews. Nines and tens were published left and right from the biggest outlets. On Metacritic, it holds a 92 with 27 critic reviews submitted. With this success and feedback from players, Valve could deliver its next game before the 2030s. The studio already is developing multiple titles, so we will have to be patient to see what the future holds from the legendary studio.
What do you think about the future of Half-Life? Have you played or do you want to play Half-Life: Alyx? Let us know in the comments below and on Facebook when it comes to this story and all things Half-Life.