A new Half-Life game is out today. That statement might seem strange enough, given the last Half-Life game launched in 2007, but today's Half-Life: Alyx marks a new step in the series. For the developers at Valve, it was a long time coming.
Speaking to Kotaku, designer Robin Walker said there were "multiple things" people worked on after Episode Two that could've picked up where the game left off. However, the issue was that no idea could capture the "wonderment, or opening, or expansion" of the Half-Life series. Several teams reportedly tried, but nothing stuck.
"At that point, we felt like the Episode Three scope couldn't just be an episode," Walker told Kotaku. "It had to be much bigger than that."
Half-Life faithful might remember that Marc Laidlaw, the writer of Half-Life and its sequel, departed Valve in 2016. In 2017, he published Epistle 3, which some fans theorized was a potential version of Half-Life 2: Episode Three. Walker says that's not the case, however; he tells Kotaku that it wasn't what he thought Valve was planning for Episode Three, but more like a "dump" of what Laidlaw was thinking of at the time.
"There was never a document that said 'Here's what Episode Three is going to be like,'" said Walker. "There was never a document from Marc about, 'Here's the overall exact thing that needs to happen.' Instead, there were many documents."
Half-Life: Alyx ultimately came to fruition thanks to a new platform in VR. Laidlaw, meanwhile, had been "super generous" with his time in answering questions for the Half-Life: Alyx writing team, according to a Valve AMA.
The virtual reality entry in the Half-Life series, Half-Life: Alyx, launched today for PC headsets. You can check out our review of the new Half-Life here, from Reporter Mat Olson. Be sure to check out the first part of our interview with Alyx writer Erik Wolpaw and designer Chris Remo as well.