Half-Life: Alyx gets more than three hours of developer commentary

A new update to Half-Life: Alyx went out today that adds more than three hours of developer commentary covering "every aspect" of the game's design. Valve said that the design commentary was originally intended to be included with the game at launch, but it was forced to delay the feature by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The update adds 147 "points of interest" to Half-Life: Alyx, indicated by floating headsets, in which developers talk about aspects of the game including design, art, animation, rendering, and audio. To access them, just grab the headset and slap it on—it's a VR game, remember, so that's all there is to it. 

Take it off when you're done—also virtually—and the headset will return to its original location. The commentary is also subtitled in a multitude of languages, including French, German, Japanese, Korean, Castilian Spanish, Latin American Spanish, Russian, Polish, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese.

You'll need to start a new game in order to access the commentary, and Valve strongly recommends that you finish the game completely before enabling the mode, as there are "significant spoilers." It also hinted that the audio level might not be as perfectly refined and even as you'd expect: "Like much of the world, 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 update also adds in-game localization for Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Norwegian, Romanian, Swedish, Thai and Turkish languages, and adds an option to change the way ladders behave, to make them "more realistic." Details are available on Steam.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.