Half-Life: Alyx is a 2020 virtual reality (VR) first-person shooter developed and published by Valve. Set between the events of Half-Life (1998) and Half-Life 2 (2004), players control Alyx Vance on a mission to seize a superweapon belonging to the alien Combine. Players use VR to interact with the environment and fight enemies, using “gravity gloves” to manipulate objects, similarly to the gravity gun from Half-Life 2. Traditional Half-Life elements return, such as physics puzzles, combat, exploration and survival horror aspects.
The game takes place before the return of Gordon Freeman in Half-Life 2. Players control Freeman’s ally Alyx Vance as she and her father Eli Vance fight the Combine, an alien empire that has conquered Earth. Designer David Speyrer said Alyx was not an episodic game or side story, but “the next part of the Half-Life story”, around the same length as Half-Life 2. Players use VR to get supplies, use interfaces, throw objects, and engage in combat. Like the gravity gun from Half-Life 2, the gravity gloves allow players to manipulate gravity. Traditional Half-Life elements such as exploration, puzzles, combat, and story are to return. Every weapon can be used one-handed, as Valve wanted players to have a hand free to interact with the world at all times. While the game is primarily a first-person shooter, it adds elements of the survival horror genre, as health and ammo are more scarce, and it includes surprise frightening encounters.
As a first-person shooter, the player has the ability to move Alyx across a level. This can be done with VR room scale support if the player has sufficient space, physically moving around to move Alyx around in-game. Alternatively, the player can opt to use analog sticks on the VR controllers to move Alyx (a method common to most video games), to use a “teleportation” method where the player points in-game to where they want to move and the game jumps Alyx there, or an intermediate mode where, after selecting the destination point, the game glides Alyx there, smoothing the transition and giving the opportunity for the player to look around during it. In the case of the teleportation option, the game still simulates the movement even though the action appears instantaneous, and Alyx may die if attacked or move from too great a height.