Gabe Newell doesn’t do a lot of press interviews, so his recent interview with IGN was somewhat of a special occasion. Throughout the 30-minute video, the Valve head honcho, alongside game designer Robin Walker, talked about various topics like AI-merging, next-gen consoles (“I think that’s less important now. I think they’re just delivery sockets for the people’s entertainment experiences.”), and, of course, Half-Life and Half-Life: Alyx.
In the third quarter of the interview, IGN’s Ryan McCaffrey asked Newell about the closest Valve has gotten to making Half-Life 3, Alyx excluded.
Here’s the reply Newell gave (edited for clarity):
“It’s part of a progression right?
I mean for us… Half-Life games are supposed to solve interesting problems and Alyx represents the collection of interesting problems and solutions that we can use.
Like the big gap really is because, maybe we’re stupid, but it didn’t seem like there was an obvious, like we don’t just crank Half-Life titles out because it helps us make the quarterly numbers, right?
“We deliberately avoid imposing that constraint on how we approach stuff and, you know, we could be right, and we could be wrong.
We make mistakes and we did Steam Machines, we did, you know, Artifact was a giant disappointment, we screw things up.
And so, for us, this is actually a really powerful moment for us, because this is as good as we get, right?”
Newell also explained how Alyx would be a useful experience for Valve, regardless of whether it succeeds or fails.
“We want to know, we want to find out, like, are we on the right track?
Like we want people to come back and say, ‘Oh my God, the magic still is there.
These guys at Valve can take this kind of experience and build something that opens our eyes as designers, that thrills us as players, that reviewers look at and say, ‘No, this is legit.'”
And if it’s not, then that’s also going to be super powerful and super useful for us.
I think we’ve nailed it, but for us… it’s time for it to go into the real world and, you know, it’s like you’re sending your kid off to college.
Let’s see what happens.
And that for us is incredibly important and part of our development, right?
This is, how everyone reacts to it is going to tell us what the next generation of changes and improvements we’re going to make.”
While Newell later adds that he sees failure as being more educational than success, he also expressed confidence in Half-Life: Alyx and its VR approach early in the interview.
“Once people play the game, I think they’ll understand that, why we think that all of the things that are traditionally been associated with Half-Life in terms of this single-player immersive experience is why VR gives us a huge opportunity to improve that.
So the proof really gonna be when people play the game.
I think they’ll say, ‘Oh, okay. This makes a lot of sense for…’
Because for us, this is really a statement about everything we’ve learned, everything that we were trying to do to move this kind of game forward.
And VR enables that in ways that will be obvious to people when they play.”
Half-Life: Alyx definitely looks impressive and seems to make good use of VR, but I’m hoping that there’ll also be a new, non-VR Half-Life title in the future. While we don’t know if we’ll be getting that or an actual Half-Life 3, Walker hopes to make more Half-Life games at the very least.
“I definitely want to make more Half-Life.
Been really fun working on this and I think it turned out amazing and, I think we’re sort of just tooled up, that is we have been in a long time.
So that’s a personal goal.”