Star Fox actor comes out of retirement for a Half-Life 2 mod that replaces Alyx with a sexy blue fox

If you've ever thought to yourself that the one thing that could make Half-Life 2 better is a sexy blue fox in place of Alyx Vance, you've probably played Gagnetar's Alyx Replacement mod for Half-Life 2 that swaps out Eli Vance's daughter for Krystal, the primary heroine of the Star Fox series.

The mod was originally released in 2017 and got a significant upgrade in early 2018, but now it's taken an even bigger step into the big-time with the addition of original Krystal voice actor Estelle Ellis, who is doing "a complete rework of Alyx's lines" for the mod. It's an especially remarkable get because Ellis hasn't done any videogame voice acting for close to 20 years: Mobygames lists her most recent credit as Perfect Dark Zero in 2005.

Despite the long time away, she apparently didn't miss a step. "In spite of doing virtually no voice acting work for well over a decade, she sounds quite natural as Krystal in this fan mod," says the Krystal Archive, a fan site dedicated to "everyone's favorite blue vixen."

"For that extra bit of polish, Gagnetar even took the trouble to rewrite some of the lines to fit better with Krystal as a character in the game world, rather than simply doing a word-for-word recreation," the archive says.

The whole Starfox-meets-Half Life thing is kind of a weird mashup, but it does look, and sound, quite good, in both the Kleiner lab demo above, and the Eli lab demo below:

As for how Gagnetar was able to convince Ellis to reprise her role for the mod, he said in the comments on the Kleiner video that he's been talking with her on and off for years, and "decided to just get her a decent microphone and we worked from there." He also said she requested a reduction in the model's "chest physics," which is why some aspects of Krystal's movement are more restrained in the Eli lab demo video than they are in the Kleiner clip. (I don't see much difference, to be honest.)

The Krystal Archive makes a point of being an all-ages celebration of Krystal, who first debuted in 2002's Star Fox Adventures. To that end it has a strict "yiff policy," and is "strongly against 'adult' depictions of Krystal, be they written, drawn, or animated." A look at the mod offers a clue to why such a policy might be necessary: the original version of the character model was very much NSFW.

Gagnetar said the new release of the Alyx Replacement mod will have other new features, but they won't be revealed until it's released. That's planned to happen on the 20th anniversary of the release of Star Fox Adventures, which if we go by the North American release date puts it on September 23.

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.