Overnight, a number of Steam users got a curious notification: “Half-Life Collection now free-to-play until launch of Half-Life: Alyx!” The message linked to an event page that apparently never existed, and even stranger, there’s no single package on Steam titled ‘Half-Life Collection.’ But now, suddenly, it’s true – if you’re looking to catch up on the series ahead of the Half-Life: Alyx release date, you’ve got a fresh opportunity.
For the next two months, you’ve got free access to the following games: Half-Life; its two expansions, Opposing Force and Blue Shift; its engine revision, Half-Life Source; Half-Life 2; and its two expansions, Episode One and Episode Two. The promotion does not include the Half-Life Deathmatch games, or other adjacent titles like Team Fortress and Portal.
“Half-Life: Alyx is set before the events of Half-Life 2 and the episodes, but the games share characters and story elements,” Valve says in the official announcement. “The Half-Life: Alyx team believes that the best way to enjoy the new game is to play through the old ones, especially Half-Life 2 and the episodes, so we want to make that as easy as possible.”
Valve’s offering a pre-order discount on Half-Life: Alyx, so the promotional cycle has already begun. Demand for the game has drained Valve Index stock, but the company says it’s making every effort to meet demand for the VR headset ahead of the new game’s launch.