We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Half-Life 2 RTX is real, beautiful, and coming soon

Orbifold Studios is bringing ray tracing and countless other visual improvements to Half-Life 2 through the power of Nvidia RTX Remix, including DLSS 3 support.

A screenshot from Half-Life 2 RTX, featuring Gordon Freeman's iconic HEV suit

Half-Life 2 RTX is on the way, and it’s already evoking the same feelings of awe I had simply looking at the now-classic Valve FPS game almost 20 years ago. Featuring ray tracing, modernized assets, and more, this is the closest we’ll likely ever get to a full Half-Life 2 remake.

Announced by Nvidia at Gamescom 2023, Half-Life 2 RTX leverages the capabilities of team green’s RTX Remix modding platform to give the game a truly transformative visual overhaul. This is the same toolkit previously used to create Portal with RTX, and this Gordon Freeman glow up looks as if it’ll suitably test the capabilities of the best graphics cards too.

Development on the project is still in its early days, but we’ve still got plenty of screenshots and footage of Doctor Kleiner’s lab to gawp at in the meantime. While the original art design of Half-Life 2 still holds up rather well in my eyes, there’s no denying the improvements on display here when compared to the RTX version.

YouTube Thumbnail

The transformation you see in the footage above isn’t solely due to the introduction of ray traced lighting. Look closely, and it won’t take you long to spot the development team’s efforts to build entirely new PBR materials, as well as increase geometric and texture detail across the board. Seriously, how did anyone get any typing done on that keyboard from 2004?

Alongside these improvements, Half-Life 2 RTX will also support the full Nvidia DLSS 3 suite of technologies. Given how paramount ray tracing is to the project, it wouldn’t surprise if the game ended up with Ray Reconstruction closer to release.

Unlike Portal with RTX, development of Half-Life 2 RTX isn’t being handled by Lightspeed Studios. Instead, Nvidia and Valve have passed the baton to four of the game’s top modding teams that are now operating under the banner of Orbifold Studios.

While most of us will need to wait some time before getting to grips with Half-Life 2 RTX, you could be involved in its development if you have the skills. Whether you’re a budding mod artist or just want to learn more about the project, check out Nvidia’s blog here.

Running Half-Life 2 RTX will take some serious pixel pushing power, and if Portal with RTX is anything to go by, you’ll need a GeForce GPU at your disposal. With this in mind, we recommend checking our Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 review as a starting point for your potential upgrade.

In addition to Half-Life 2 RTX, team green has also made some announcements regarding Nvidia GeForce Now PC Game Pass support. We’ve also got the latest on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 DLSS 3 and details on why exactly Nvidia DLSS 3.5 is a big deal.