Will there be a Half-Life VR game? And will it stand in for the infinitely-postponed Half-Life 3 game that's haunted fans of the bestselling franchise for years?
Speculation is mounting over a VR title planned for the Valve Index VR headset that launched earlier this year. Valve has said that it would release its first flagship VR titles releasing before the end of 2019, and evidence suggests that a game set in the Half-Life universe could be it.
- Half-Life 3: the sequel game that never was
- Check out our Valve Index review
- What are the best VR headsets?
YouTuber Tyler McVicker has released a video essay on the mounting clues for a Half-Life VR game, including multiple mentions of something called "HLVR" in the source code for existing Valve devices and software – as well as mentions of "Headcrabs" and the iconic "Crowbar" you get to smash them with.
There's also reference to adorably-named "Grabbity Gloves", which sounds like a straightforward recreation of the Half-Life 2 Gravity Gun using hand-based gestures / Valve's knuckle controllers – meaning you could throw and grab items in a similar way to the VR game Vader Immortal, where you manipulate the Force to do the Star Wars villain's bidding.
We reported on similar rumors in 2018, when it emerged that Valve might be working on its own VR hardware to release to market – which became the Index headset.
We're wary of anything vaguely Half-Life related popping up in the rumor mill, given the years of disappointment for those of us hoping for a fully-fledged Half-Life 3 game.
On the other hand, a Half-Life VR game would be a highly smart move for shifting units of the relatively new Valve Index headset, as those years of built-up frustration would no doubt convert into some sizable hardware sales.
McVicker speculates that the game will likely be announced in 2019 but not be released until 2020 – and could constitute a 12-16 hours of gameplay. He also suggests that players could take the role of Alex Vance, a major character from the existing Half-Life games, and that the game would be set in the period between Half-Life and Half-Life 2.
So not a Half-Life 3 game, then – but if a HLVR game is the way that Valve chooses to reboot or revisit the game's universe, then more Half-Life titles could always be on the way.
- Check out the best VR games to play today
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Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.