Update: Although the VR announcement didn't come back in April, Valve has now announced a new VR prequel to the Half-Life series called Half-Life: Alyx coming in 2020.
Predicting what Valve is and isn't going to do is a losing game, even with reliable information, so I'm giving myself a 1 percent chance of getting this completely right.
Valve is going to reveal the specs of its play for the best VR headset title, the Valve Index, very soon, and we have good reason to believe it'll reveal some VR games along with it—one of which is rumored to be a Half-Life game.
Valve told me on April 1 that it was "targeting May 1st for pre orders and a full announcement" of the Valve Index. That plan may have changed (especially because the Borderlands 3 gameplay reveal is also happening this week), but the announcement will probably happen soon, because Valve also told me that it wants to start shipping hardware in June. I've asked Valve if this Wednesday is still the big day, and will update this post if I hear back.
We also know for sure that Valve has been working on three VR games, which Gabe Newell described as full-sized games (as opposed to tech demo-like projects such as The Lab) in February 2017. "We think we can make three big VR games," Newell said at the time. "We think that we know enough now to do that, and we're going to find out if that’s the case. We're pretty sure that all the other game developers are going to learn positive or negative lessons from what we do, which is sort of where we have to be right now."
Valve didn't tell me whether or not it's going to announce any of those games when pre-orders for the Index open up, but that seems like the obvious move. I'd be surprised if one or more weren't bundled with the headset to drive sales.
Now for the Half-Life part of it: In November of last year, a source told UploadVR that one of the three upcoming Valve VR games is a Half-Life prequel. At the same time, UploadVR's sources confirmed that leaked images of the Valve Index were the real deal, and that turned out to be true. The photos from November 2018 look just like the actual hardware that was revealed earlier this month.
Additionally, Valve News Network reported in March that "hlvr" and references to a shotgun appear in a Dota 2 update. Valve game files are full of references to other games, and that doesn't always mean anything, but it does strengthen the credibility of UploadVR's report from last year.
To recap, here's what we know for sure:
- Valve is going to reveal the specs of the Valve Index soon, possibly on Wednesday.
- Valve plans to start taking pre-orders at the same time as the announcement.
- Valve plans to start shipping the headsets in June.
- Valve has been developing three "big" VR games for at least a couple years.
And here's what we're speculating about:
- Valve will probably announce one or more of its VR games with the Index specs.
- One or more games may be bundled with the Index.
- One of the games is rumored to be a Half-Life game, though not Half-Life 3.
As always with Valve, there's a small chance it does what all signs suggest it's going to do, and a much bigger chance it throws us a curveball at 5 pm on a Friday evening—but I'm certain that I'm at least partially right about all this.
We'll be keeping an eye on the Valve Index Steam page this Wednesday to see if anything happens, whether it includes Half-Life or not.