Recorded in “closets and blanket forts around greater Seattle”.
Half-Life: Alyx – Valve’s stellar return to its infamously long-dormant first-person shooter series – has just received a new update, this one adding an in-game developer commentary designed to offer behind-the-scenes insights into the making of the game.
Alyx’s developer commentary was initially expected to ship at launch back in March, but Covid-19, as it’s want to do, scuppered those plans. As of today, however, the commentary is in, introducing 147 different points of interest nodes throughout the game.
Valve has, of course, included in-game developer commentaries in a whole heap of its previous games – including Half-Life 2, Portal 2, Team Fortress 2, and the Left 4 Dead series – but Alyx’s new addition marks the first time the company has jettisoned its familiar rotating speech bubbles as the means of initiating the feature while playing.
These have been replaced with floating headsets dotted around Alyx’s various environments, which – this being a VR game and all – players can activate by grabbing and plopping onto their heads. A commentary status panel will then appear above a player’s off hand, indicating playback progress and the name of the speaker, and the commentary (which also includes subtitle support in 11 languages) can be stopped at any time, simply by removing the headset.
Valve says the Alyx team has recorded over three hours of audio commentary, covering the likes of design, art, animation, rendering, and sound. “Like much of the world,” it notes, “we are all working from home, which means that rather than using our comfortable high-quality recording studio at the office, we have been recording our commentary voice overs in closets and blanket forts around greater Seattle.”
The developer also warns that spoilers are rampant throughout its newly implemented commentary, so players should probably consider finishing a complete play-through before immersing themselves in Valve’s behind-the-scenes chatter.
Half-Life: Alyx’s Commentary Update is available to download now.