Half-Life: Alyx update adds hours of developer commentary

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The pandemic forced Valve developers to record commentary from their homes

TL;DR: Valve has added more than three hours of developer audio commentary to Half-Life: Alyx. Worth noting is the fact that the commentary contains significant spoilers. As such, Valve recommends playing the game to conclusion prior to playing with commentary enabled.

Half-Life: Alyx was one of the brighter moments of 2020. The game wasn’t a total surprise as we first learned about it in late 2019, but many were surprised to discover just how good of a game it ended up being. It proved that Valve hadn’t lost its magic touch and VR wasn’t just a neat parlor trick. In the right hands, it could be a compelling platform for storytelling.

This week, we learned that Valve isn’t done with Half-Life: Alyx just yet.

The developer has released an audio commentary update that adds more than three hours of commentary to the game. The update features “147 different points of interest” covering a range of topics including art, animation, design, rendering and sound, among others.

Given the ongoing pandemic, Valve didn’t have the luxury of recording the commentary using their high-quality recording studio in the office. Rather, “we have been recording our commentary voice overs in closets and blanket forts around greater Seattle.”

When playing in commentary mode, you’ll see a floating headset at each point of interest. Simply put the headset on to listen. A status panel will show you the playback progress and the name of the speaker. Subtitles are also available in a wealth of different languages.

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