Half-Life: Alyx was a new way for people to experience the Half-Life saga. While some were not particularly happy about the game being exclusive to VR, it did give new context to the classic series. But it also lacked several things as well. Melee combat, specifically the crowbar, was cut due to issues with it hanging on door frames. Seriously. It also lacked vehicles, something there were several of in Half-Life 2 and its episodic sequels, but the reason for that is a tad more complicated.
Talking to VG247, Designer Robin Walker explained why the team decided not to make vehicles a thing in Alyx. He was clear in saying it wasn’t because the team felt vehicles couldn’t work in VR, but it was more the simple fact that the team wasn’t ready for it. They had not designed the “langauge” of it in a VR landscape yet, and pointed to the very long process of getting that aspect right for Half-Life 2.
“It wasn’t because we don’t think they work in VR or anything,” Walker said. “We didn’t get to the point, really, where we spent any significant time thinking about vehicles.
“At a guess, I would say a reason that never really came up seriously onto the set of things we were looking at was everything that we were seeing was telling us that players wanted denser worlds. They were going to move through space more slowly, explore more carefully, and our response to that was to add even more detail to the world. We put that in front of playtesters, and they would pay even more attention.
“I remember back in Half-Life 2, we struggled to reconcile, even then, the density implications of players in vehicles. If you remember the Half-Life 2 coastline area, with the buggy, we had to establish, essentially, a visual language with players for the place you need to get out of your buggy and explore.”
Hopefully, it’ll be something that will be expanded on in the future. Riding around in VR could be a lot of fun, I imagine. Half-Life: Alyx is available now for PC, and you can read our full review through here.