After a very long time on ice, the Half-Life series returned with Alyx. The game was not what many had hoped and expected, being a VR-only title, but it’s back regardless. The game was designed around VR, which offers a lot of new opportunities, but also its share of challenges as well. For example, an iconic weapon was going to be part of the game, but it couldn’t get out the door in the most literal sense.
Robin Walker, Designer and Programmer for Alyx told VG247 that the game at one point had melee combat. In fact, it had the crowbar that Half-Life fans know and love. But it seems the VR nature of things made it difficult, specifically that the crowbar kept getting hung up on door frames without the player’s knowledge. Ultimately, it and melee combat were cut altogether.
“We spent a bunch of time experimenting with a usable crowbar in the game, and never got it to the point we were very happy with it,” Walker said.
“We built a map full of little puzzles that you could do just using the crowbar, and that felt really cool. The hook itself was really problematic. Without any real feedback, it was very easy to have it off-screen and hook it on something and not know, so players would end up hooking it on a door frame as they went through the door, and then start walking away, and we’re like, ‘Now, what do we do? What’s the point?’.”
Presuming we get more Half-Life games in VR, it’s interesting to think we may not get one of the most iconic weapons in the franchise. Hopefully, Valve can figure it out. Half-Life: Alyx is available now for PC, and you can read our review through here.