Developers Valve shocked the gaming industry by announcing the latest installment in the long-dormant Half-Life series. Half-Life: Alyx is set to be released in March 2020 and will be the series’ first virtual reality exclusive title. It will be released via Steam and will be compatible with all PC-Based VR headsets including the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Valve’s proprietary headset, Valve Index.
Half-Life: Alyx will be a full-length campaign taking place after the Combine invasion of Half-Life 1 and before the return of Gordon Freeman in Half-Life 2. Players will take control of Alyx Vance, the supporting character of Half-Life 2, as she and her father, Eli, mount up a resistance against the invading Combine forces and their brutal occupation of Earth.
VR was built for the kind of gameplay that sits at the heart of Half-Life, and Half-Life: Alyx was built from the ground up for VR. You'll be able to play it on any SteamVR compatible system.
— Valve (@valvesoftware) November 21, 2019
“Everyone at Valve is excited to be returning to the world of Half-Life”, says Valve founder Gabe Newell to The Verge. “VR has energized us. We’ve invested a lot of ourselves in the technology. But we’re also game developers at heart, and to be devoting ourselves to a VR game this ambitious is just as exciting. For that to come in the form of Half-Life feels like the culmination of a lot of things we care a lot about: truly great games, cutting edge technology, and open platforms. We can’t wait for people to experience this.”
Half-Life: Alyx will have the hallmarks of the classic Half-Life series that players fell in love with two decades ago: platforming, world exploration, visceral combat and a gripping narrative interwoven within the iconic Half-Life Universe. Alyx will also be armed with gravity gloves that will help grab things that would otherwise be out of reach. Half-Life: Alyx was built from the ground up for VR on Valve’s Source 2 engine. Players will be able to choose from three different types of setup, whether they want to move around the room, stand in one place or sit down.
Valve is better known these days as the titan retail platform as well as for its Esports titles such as Counter-Strike: GO and DOTA 2. Its initial rise to prominence was through the Half-Life series with the last game, Half-Life 2: Episode 2, released in 2007. Since then, there was constant speculation and anticipation of an installment that would pick up where Episode 2 left off. The idea of the release of Half-Life 3 had become a meme among hopeful fans. The final nail in the coffin was the leak of a script by former Valve writer, Marc Laidlaw, that may have been the planned plot for Half-Life 3. The release of Half-Life: Alyx has reignited the hopes of many fans to get proper closure for the series.
Half-Life: Alyx is currently available for pre-purchase on Steam for $59.99 and owners of the Valve Index VR headset will get it for free.
Far Cry Series Comes to VR With Location Based Far Cry VR: Dive Into Insanity
Ubisoft has been showing a growing interest with bring thier AAA franchises into the VR gaming scape specifically with location-based virtual reality experiences. During the pre-show of the Ubisoft Forward the studio announced that the Far Cry series would be taking its first step into VR with their latest title, Far Cry VR: Dive Into Insanity.
In collaboration with Zero Latency VR, Dive Into Insanity will be taking place in the setting of Rook Island from Far Cry 3. Making his return to the series, the fan-favorite Einstein quoting insane villain, Vaas Montenegro and his crew of pirates will be hunting the players across Rook Island as they have to escape from the island. With up to 8 players playing in session approximately lasting 30 mins, according to Zero Latency, the game will have free-roaming as well as haptic guns fight back with.
“When it comes to creating dynamic, memorable gaming experiences, free-roam location-based VR expands the possibilities. Far Cry® VR: Dive into Insanity will offer players around the world the opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich setting of Far Cry® 3 and take on its iconic villain,” said Deborah Papiernik, the VP of New Business atUbisoft.
Far Cry VR: Dive Into Insanity is slated to release in 2021 as a Zero Latency exclusive only to be found at their VR Locations. The company presently has more than 45 venues situated across 22 countries, with three in the UK run by MeetspaceVR.
“We are excited to be working with Ubisoft to bring the world of Far Cry® 3 to VR,” said Tim Ruse, CEO, Zero Latency VR. “It’s going to be a special experience for fans to return to Rook Island in this incredibly immersive new way.”
As we had reported before here at Gaming.net, Ubisoft is also releasing their VR location-based Escape Room game, Prince of Persia: Daggers of Time through their studio, Ubisoft Dusseldorf. There is also their previous VR Maze, Assassin’s Creed: Temple of Anubis with which they partnered with Triotech to bring to life. Ubisoft seems to be cementing it’s position as a leader in the VR location-based market leveraging it’s well-known franchises.
VR Social Platform Facebook Horizon Is Available for Invite Only Public Beta
Facebook’s new ambitious VR social experience Facebook Horizon has announced that it is currently available for its invite-only public beta. Gearing it up for its release later this year, the public beta seems to add new games, features, and environments for players to enjoy.
With Horizon, it seems that there is an emphasis on community collaboration with its world-building tools that allow you to create various worlds and events for the other members of the community to enjoy and take part in. This can range from simple meaning games all the way to full-blown complex interactive adventure.
In its trailer, it shows players with their customized avatars taking part in several multiplayer minigames such as ramen making classes, mini-golfing, dungeon crawling, bank heists, and a dozen other games and experiences. As well as its world-building aspects where players would be creating their worlds from top-down perspective designing 3D objects with a set of shapes and tools in real-time.
Another stand-out point was the push towards community safety in Horizon. Each avatar comes with a device on their wrist with a blue shield button to enter a Safe Zone. Players can enter the Safe Zone when they feel uncomfortable by the actions of other players and separate themselves from others as well as the environment for a breather. Players can also set boundaries to how close other avatars can get to theirs as well as quick controls to instantly mute, block, or report their fellow players.
According to Facebook, they will always be recording Horizon sessions which will not be seen by any human personnel unless a report is filed. When a report is filed, a clip of a few minutes will be sent to a trained specialist for an evaluation. Any breach of the code of conduct will resort in a ban.
We expected to hear more of Facebook Horizon during the Facebook Connect, the rebranding of Oculus Connect, Oculus’ annual conference. This is the sixth annual conference and the first to be held exclusively online on 16 September. The name change comes after the announcement that Oculus will have mandatory Facebook integration which seemingly had negative feedback from the community. Facebook’s other attempts to move from the Oculus branding include the renaming of Oculus Research to Facebook Reality Labs, which will be handling Facebook AR/VR projects moving forward.
— Oculus (@oculus) August 25, 2020
“Before today, we lacked a unified brand identity from which to tell the story of how we’re building the future of VR and AR,” states Andrew Bosworth, Vice President of FRL. “With the Facebook Reality Labs name, we’re making clear where these technologies are coming from. We hope you’ll come along for the ride. In the meantime, we’ll be working in the lab.”
Hitman 3 Is Going To Feature VR Support On The PSVR
IO Interactive have announced that their World of Assassination Trilogy will end with the upcoming Hitman 3. During the Sony Interactive Entertainment’s (SIE) State of Play, they have stated that Hitman 3 will be completely playable on PSVR.
The new installment will follow the steps of its predecessors with six sandbox locations, all of which will be available at launch. Dubai is set to be the first mission that players can take part in. Not only will the new location of Hitman 3 be available for VR at launch, but players will also be able to import locations for the previous two titles. This means that 20+ locations across all three games will be able to be explored and experience in a whole new VR mode.
In a blog post announcement, IO Interactive has said about the new VR experience, “Playing in VR will literally change the way you play with a first-person perspective that lets you immerse yourself into the game world. Stand face-to-face with your targets, blend-in to a busy crowd to overhear conversations, and interact with the game world using your hands. For example, imagine that you’ve picked up a frying pan and you sneak up on a guard. You can swing the frying pan in whatever angle you want to knock them out – and then use it to deflect bullets that are fired as you make your escape.”
The developers have stated the final chapter will be “a lot more mature, serious and darker,” with the tagline, “Death awaits.” Though the humor of the previous games will still be present. There are a few notable changes from the previous two titles to expect with Hitman 3. As opposed to the first games episodic release with a new level released every few months, all missions will be available at launch. The game will also feature fully animated cutscenes similar to those of Hitman 1 instead of the still image storytelling for Hitman 2.
While some details are still scarce, we know that in this chapter, Agent 47 will be returning as the ruthless professional as he embarks on a journey to complete the most important contracts of his career. Certain game modes will be returning such as the Elusive target mode and Escalation mode, as well as the Sniper Assassin mode which requires players to take out targets from a long distance. This mode will be a single-player only mode unlike in Hitman 2, which was a co-op multiplayer. Contracts mode, where you pick a target, take them out, and challenge friends to the best score, is also returning. IO Interactive has announced that they will be removing the 1v1 Ghost mode and the mode’s server for Hitman 2 will be shut down on August 31, 2020.
Hitman 3 will be released on January 2021 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Google Stadia, and PC