As 2019 steadily draws to a close, eyes are increasingly turning toward Valve, which said it will release its first “flagship” VR game this year. Though there’s just two and a half months before the end of the year, the company still hasn’t formally announced the game. However, a series of code leaks suggest that it will indeed be a Half-Life VR game.
For several years now, Valve says its been working on not one, but three VR titles. Earlier this year the company confirmed that the first, which it described as a “flagship VR game,” would launch in 2019.
Beyond that, the company hasn’t said anything about the game. We don’t even know the name of the title, let alone what kind of game it will be. But Tyler McVicker, the mind behind YouTube channel Valve News Network, thinks he has a pretty good idea.
For years McVicker has been trawling the source code of Valve’s publicly released games and game tools, and has spotted telling clues here and there which point to the development of a ‘HLVR’ project, which McVicker believes represents a ‘Half-Life VR’ game, the same which Valve has said will ship this year. In a new video, he offers an overview of the evidence that he’s found and outlines what it could tell us about the upcoming Valve VR game:
While some of McVicker’s broader claims sound like pure speculation with a bit of fanboyism, there certainly appears to be plenty concrete evidence in the form of the many ‘HLVR’ and ‘VR’ code strings which have been found; these are plaintext references to objects, attributes, and systems which underpin the game, and could reveal quite a bit about what kinds of enemies, weapons, interactions, and settings the game will be built around.
From his research, McVicker believes that Valve’s upcoming VR game will be a Half-Life VR game set in the 20 year period between Half-Life and Half-Life 2. The player, he says, will play the role of Alex Vance, a central character in Half-Life 2.
He goes on to overview some of the specific objects and interactions the game will likely contain, including the hilarious and aptly named ‘Grabbity Gloves’, which are a clear reference to the Gravity Gun from Half-Life 2, but can also be sensibly expected to allow players to use ‘force-grab’, a technique commonly used in VR game design to make item interactions easier by allowing players to grab objects from a distance.
Of course it’s worth noting that not everything uncovered will definitely make it into the game. Some of the code that’s been found could be from experiments and the like; this might be one of Valve’s VR games but not necessarily the first one that will launch; and there’s surely heaps of code that isn’t actually out in the public yet which could radically alter our understanding of what the game will be. Granted, if the uncovered code does represent an active project, looking broadly at what’s there does seem to point quite specifically at a Half-Life VR game.
From his research, McVicker believes the title will be a single-player, story driven game, and have a AAA scope with 12-16 hours of gameplay. And while Valve said the game will launch in 2019, the company is well known for missing self-imposed deadlines; McVicker expects the game will get a formal announcement in 2019 but not launch until early 2020.