Half-Life: Alyx has finally arrived, and as Dustin wrote in our glowing review, Valve has managed to “deliver the impossible” by living up to the expectations set by more than a decade of anticipation and hype. But one of the things that makes Half-Life: Alyx special is the fact it was designed from the ground up as a VR experience – unlike most PC games, it isn’t at all ‘hardware agnostic.’ Rather, Alyx was built alongside a specific kind of VR headset and controller.
That’s something that Valve co-founder Gabe Newell says he’d love to talk about with Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, the legendary designer who created some of gaming’s most iconic and memorable experiences. Unlike the vast majority of PC development, Nintendo and Miyamoto have always put a premium on the hardware they build, creating specific devices and accessories to shape the game experiences they build.
Valve has taken a massive step in that direction with the creation of both Index and Half-Life: Alyx, and Newell says he’d like to know what Miyamoto thinks of his company’s work.
“The combination of Index and Half-Life: Alyx, to my mind, is where we were always hoping we would get to,” Newell says in an interview published in Edge #344, “which is the ability to be designing hardware and software in concert with each other, attacking a problem which would be really difficult to attack in a piecemeal fashion: how do we move that immersive single player experience forward?”
With Index and Alyx, Newell says Valve has reached a peak that he feels Miyamoto would naturally understand and could validate.
“I’d love to sit down with Miyamoto and say, ‘This is our best work, this is our best thinking, what’s your reaction to it?'” he said. “And to some parts of it he’d say, ‘Well of course you have to design the controller at the same time you’re designing experiences, because that’s what we’ve been doing forever.’
“But the other pieces of it, hopefully, he would step away from and say, ‘Yes, this is a really good step forward in terms of this genre,'” Newell continued. “Which is what I feel we’ve traditionally done with Half-Life.”
Half-Life: Alyx is available now – on Steam, of course.