Half-Life: Alyx is likely soon to see an update which would add in-game developer commentary similar to previous Valve games.
Fans of Valve games will likely recall the optional in-game developer commentary first added to Half-Life 2: Lost Coast and in later titles like Half-Life 2: Episode One, Episode 2, Portal and others. Half-Life: Alyx is very likely to get a similar mode in an upcoming update.
YouTube channel Valve News Network spotted a listing for a password-protected branch of Half-Life: Alyx called ‘Commentary Beta3’ that was last updated three days ago, compared to the most recent public version of the game which was last updated four months ago. The channel says the appearance of the branch means the update is likely to launch in the near future.
In prior games Valve’s developer commentary mode would spawn little ‘speech bubbles’ throughout the game world which players could click on to play audio recordings of the developers offering up behind-the-scenes commentary on specific parts of the game. It’s not just off-the-cuff remarks either—in Portal 2 the total duration of developer commentary was around 40 minutes of scripted insights.
Valve News Network suggests that the Half-Life: Alyx developer commentary mode is likely to work a bit differently than prior games. Rather than the ‘speech bubbles’, the channel says that previously data-mined files point to floating versions of the headset—which Alyx wears to communicate with Russell—as the vehicle for delivering the commentary. And considering that this is Valve, I’d say there’s at least a 25% chance that the studio gives the commentary audio a little ‘radio distortion’ filter to make it sound like it’s actually coming out of the headset.
For fans of Valve’s work, the developer commentary would likely be a strong pull to play through the game again to discover the insights shared along the way about how the game ended up in its final form. And if that doesn’t do it for you, maybe some of the game’s mods will.
Earlier this year we published an interview with one of Alyx’s developers which gave us a very interesting glimpse in the studio’s development approach. We also got a deluge of behind-the-scenes details—including what happened to other VR games that Valve was working on—from an interactive book published in July called The Final Hours of Half-Life: Alyx.