There’s a surreal element to the release of Half-Life: Alyx, as the long-dormant franchise had turned into a meme as the wait for a new game following Half-Life 2: Episode 2 stretched further and further. Now that the new game has finally released, one developer at Valve has spoken about the gap between releases, and while he can’t commit to anything, he’s hopeful that it won’t be as long.
Robin Walker, a long-time programmer at Valve, has spoken to Polygon about the pressures that come with the Half-Life brand. “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?,” he said. “That’s a paralyzing thing to work on.”
Half-Life: Alyx felt right, he says, and once they had a prototype it was clear that it could be the next game in the series. For now, he says, it’s not clear what the next game will be: “We haven’t made any decisions about what to do next, concretely, because there’s no reason to. We can wait a week.”
However, Walker has reason to think that the next game isn’t 13 years away again. “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,” he told Polygon. Walker continued. “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],” Walker added, noting that he would likely have retired by then.
This isn’t confirmation that another Half-Life will begin development anytime soon, of course–the future remains unwritten for this series.
Half-Life: Alyx received an 9/10 in GameSpot’s review. “Disappointment you may have felt in its 13-year hiatus will feel like water under the bridge, and in a way, have played into just how powerful Half-Life: Alyx turned out to be,” reviewer Michael Higham wrote. “The names, the faces, the iconic objects that have become synonymous with Half-Life have their specific place. And if you weren’t aware previously, you’ll see just how important Alyx Vance–the series’ most infallible personality–has been the entire time.”
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