Good news for PC gamers who somehow never experienced the industry-defining Half-Life games by Valve. The developer is offering all games in the franchise for absolutely free on Steam, until the new VR spin-off Half-Life: Alyx releases in March.
Half-Life: Alyx is coming in March, and we're celebrating early by making all past games in the Half-Life series free to play for Steam users, from now until the day Half-Life: Alyx launches! https://t.co/giz801AKfu pic.twitter.com/ndUpN8NDYs
— Valve (@valvesoftware) January 21, 2020
Half-Life and Valve are synonymous for PC gaming and for good reason. The original Half-Life title was one of the most influential games of its time and ushered a new ear of narrative-focused game design and scripted events. Before that, first-person shooters were most often designed in form of closed maze-like levels where a story played a very unimportant part at best.
In 1998, Valve changed industry norms with a heavy focus on scripted events and a major focus on believable world-building. For how important the first game was, the second actually managed to top it, but maybe not for the obvious reasons. Yes, the game itself was a sublime experience unlike anything on the market. The signature focus on story without breaking the immersion even once by taking the player out of the player character Gordon Freeman was enhanced in a nice way by meaningful physics. The Gravity Gun wasn’t only for show but became one of the most memorable and unique weapons in any game.
It’s hard to think that there are gamers out there who haven’t played the games but now there’s no more excuse. As part of the anticipated launch of the VR-only Half-Life: Alyx this March, Valve is now offering all Half-Life games for absolutely free on Steam. If you’re looking forward to Alyx, it’s a great excuse to come up to snuff with the story so far but even if you don’t own a VR device, you absolutely own it to your gamer cred to have played these classics.