Players take on the role of Alyx Vance, who was a prominent character in Half-Life 2. Based on events that unfold in the trailer, things aren’t exactly easygoing for her.
Upon coming across a headcrab (and, yes, this is frightening in first-person), we begin to get details on the story. It takes place between the original Half-Life and Half-Life 2, where Alyx, along with her father Dr. Eli Vance, find harrowing details about the Combine’s occupation of City 17.
The trailer does provide a decent glimpse at the gameplay, featuring a pair of Alyx’s virtual hands. This includes solving puzzles, rummaging for necessary items, and some intense gunplay. There are also other elements involved, like being able to rip a headcrab off your face with your hands and throw it at a Combine soldier. (Who wouldn’t want to do that?)
The Verge also spoke with Valve about the game, which noted that Alyx is not really a side spin-off. Instead, it’s “the next part of the Half-Life story.” It’ll also be about the same length as Half-Life 2, instead of the typical short virtual reality experience.
Valve did recommend playing through Half-Life 2: Episode 2 first, to get caught up on the story so that Alyx makes a bit more sense.
As far as whether the story can expand to next, the developer noted that “we’ll have to wait and see how people react to Half-Life: Alyx.” That said, it would “love to continue pushing forward.”
Half-Life: Alyx is available for pre-order on Steam, and will release in March 2020. Pre-ordering the game will net a ten percent discount, bringing it down to $53.99. It works with Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality.