The story of the Half-Life series is a tragic one. Once Valve’s crown jewel, it had some of the best storytelling and gameplay ever. Up until Half-Life: Episode Two, things were fine and life was good. But then, Half-Life: Episode Three never appeared. Arkane Studios’ Return to Ravenholm was canceled. Rumors came and went about Half-Life 3, surfacing so often that its become a joke. But now, new life and attention is being brought back to Half-Life. It’s all because of the fans.
The Source VR Mod Team, Marulu, and WormSlayer have Half-Life 2: VR on Steam Greenlight. It is, as you would expect from the name, a mod that allows you to play through Half-Life 2 and Half-Life 2: Episodes 1 and 2 on the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. It has all the bells and whistles, what with updated models, maps, and effects, a 3D VR GUI, locomotion methods, and headset and controller support. It will even be free. And it is going to help get people talking about Half-Life and VR again.
After all, Half-Life 2 VR mods have been a dream for years. HLVR, the first such mod, launched in 2013. It let people use the Oculus Rift dev kit and Razer Hydra to play the game. The problem was, it didn’t last. It never received the updates needed to work on anything but those oldest dev kits. Now, it’s a more realistic and viable product. The Half-Life 2 VR mod does what Valve didn’t. Valve didn’t keep updating Source to ensure it kept supporting the Oculus Rift. This does. It makes the games look gorgeous and makes them playable with VR headsets, making a 13-year-old game feel new again. It calls attention to both the product and the technology.
Which is something VR desperately needs. We see a lot of VR experiences for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. These transport us to a virtual world. We also have quite a few short VR games. This like Job Simulator and Rec Room are essentially minigame collections. Half-Life 2 VR gives us an incredible, full game. The other games and adventures feel miniscule in comparison. This mod is basically proof that VR can handle such a huge game and make it feel incredible.
Half-Life 2 VR also has to catch Valve’s eye. We already know the company is too concerned with Steam and other game projects at the moment to really do anything with Half-Life. There have been no leaks regarding the series coming out. But, with this mod project catching people’s eyes and being discussed so often online, it is going to show the company the desire this series still inspires. Maybe, once it is approved and passes Steam Greenlight, it will spur on talks at Valve regarding the series.
Listen, all we Half-Life fans have at this point is hope. There’s been radio silence for so many years now. Seeing a project like Half-Life 2 VR come around to make both Half-Life and VR seem more appealing is huge for us. It makes us thing that people still remember and there could be a chance of something good happening some day.