Valve quietly updates Half-Life 2 with increased FOV, ultrawide support and ancient bug fixes

Half-Life 2 has seen a few small, minor updates over the years. But in advance of Valve's new handheld PC, the company has spruced up their seminal shooter with a major beta update to ensure it looks as smooth as possible on not just the Steam Deck, but all other contemporary PCs.

While not publically announced on the game's store page, the update to Half-Life 2's beta branch was spotted by Valve-centric YouTuber Tyler McVicker. The update supposedly includes numerous bug-fixes that have sat unresolved for years, increases the FOV cap to 110, and adjusts the UI to support ultrawide resolutions.

Perhaps the most notable (if less flashy) additions, however, is support for the Vulkan rendering API, which pointedly plays much nicer with Linux-based operating systems like SteamOS. Valve brought Vulkan support to Portal 2 back in February, and with the Half-Life 2 games now on-board, McVicker now reckons we can expect most of Valve's back-catalogue to be updated to work well on the Steam Deck.

Half-Life 2 with widescreen enabled, 110 FOV, at 3440x1440 resolution. (Image credit: Valve)

Compatibility has been a major concern both for customers and Steam itself, with Valve recently beginning efforts to catalogue the entire platform for compatibility. While most games won't run on Linux, Valve has been working to ensure its Proton compatibility layer supports as many Windows games as possible. An early issue saw games with Easy Anti-Cheat struggle to run with Proton, an issue that was remedied with an update last month.

Half-Life 2's beta update isn't quite ready to go live. McVicker notes that there's a micro-stuttering issue with the current build, though you can download it yourself by selecting the Beta tab under Half-Life 2's properties in your Steam library. Hopefully, the landmark FPS will make for a great showpiece by the time Steam Decks start shipping in December.

Natalie Clayton
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.