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It’s official, straight from the Valve Twitter account. Half-Life: Alyx is coming out on March 23. More than a decade after the last official installment of the series, we’ll finally get a sequel of sorts. But if you want to experience it, you’ll need the appropriate gear.
— Valve (@valvesoftware) February 13, 2020
Valve announced the next entry in its famous series last November, and up to now all we knew was that it’d be out sometime in March. Alyx is undoubtedly meant to be a killer app of sorts for VR, a gamer’s game that’ll move some headsets and controllers. Valve promises the game will have immersive experiences such as “deep environmental interactions, puzzle solving, world exploration, and visceral combat.”[Read: Valve makes all Half-Life games free in anticipation of Alyx]
As you might expect, you can’t play the game without a compatible headset. Luckily, you have multiple options. Valve’s choice is, no doubt, its own Index headset and controller, but those are currently sold out on Steam. Valve says on the Half-Life site that any headset that works with SteamVR will work with the game.
Oculus fans will be happy to know you can play the game with either a Rift S or a Quest. The latter requires a link cable, which sort of negates its appeal as a wire-free headset, but what can you do. In his guide to VR, my colleague Tristan says the Quest is good for powerhouse PCs, while the Rift S can be easily transported and is good if space is at a premium.
The HTC Vive is also a good choice, and it can be used wirelessly with an extra adapter. You can also use a Windows Mixed Reality headset, such as the Samsung Odyssey, which I hadn’t even heard of for a while. Both are good options, but both are unfortunately out of stock at the time of this writing. I guess Alyx really is moving some hardware. But keep an eye on all of these to see when they come back in stock.
The only popular VR headset with which it appears to be incompatible is the PlayStation VR headset, though that’s likely not a surprise. The website also notes that you can control the game both with touch controllers and those with triggers, and either standing or sitting.
If you already own a compatible headset, you can preorder Alyx from the Steam page here. If you own Valve Index hardware, you’ll get Alyx for free.