When we last were with Alyx Vance, she was “hired” by interdimensional talent recruiter G-Man. G-Man placed her in a stalemate until her next job after the conclusion of the season of Half-Life: Alyx. Normal G-Man stuff is not a big issue.
We don’t have any official confirmation on what time the assignment will be completed. We’re not sure whether this year’s Half-Life title will come out as a VR game or a desktop-based game when it could be released, or whether Valve is actively working on the game. The Half-Life game (or maybe even the Half-Life sequel Alyx 2) is yet to be confirmed. We could be in for an extended, long waiting.
In the meantime, there’s Levitation to anticipate. Levitation is a mod for Half-Life: Alyx created by the map designer and artist for CS: GO Shawn Snelling ( FMPONE) animator, G-Man meme creator Chris Laddo as well as other volunteers who are modders, animators as well as voice actors. This new campaign for free is a full-sized action-packed adventure that lasts up to four and five hours. In the context of the PC Gaming Show, here’s an epoch-making single-take trailer of seven minutes that’s as thrilling well-crafted, and professional as the real game.
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As the first trailer teaser(which opens in a new tab) for Levitation revealed that Two members of humanity’s resistance stumbled upon an unusual floating apartment within City 17. The Combine is clearly in the wrong and Alyx is investigating The action picks right after the bending of continuity conclusion in Half-Life: Alyx.
“The basic premise involves Alyx receiving a distress signal from two resistance members Maya and Barry about secret Combine technology buried within a section of the Quarantine Zone known as Sector X,” Corey Laddo sent me in an email. “With the help of Russell, Alyx dives deep into Combine territory to investigate this threat and search for Maya and Barry. It’s a completely separate Half-Life adventure that uses Alyx’s ending as a springboard for the narrative.”
The gameplay trailer features Alyx fighting off a variety of Combine soldiers and headcrab zombies while she moves deeper into the area and tries to determine the origin of the massive energy signature. Russell suggests they might be getting closer to a long-lost theoretical physicist with bespectacled eyes. Maybe. Perhaps.
“It’s probably Gordon Freeman and not anything bad at all,” Russell says to Alyx in the game trailer as she works in an attempt to get through the zone of quarantine. “Definitely, ah… definitely, probably, Gordon Freeman.” When Alyx rides an elevator to a crumbling area of construction inside Sector X, she gets an eyeful of two awe-inspiring images: a strider that is guarding the zone, and a puppet leader in the universe of Half-Life G-Man, who is watching from an infinity distance.
G-Man is not an acquaintance to Corey Laddo, who has animated G-Man into hilarious and bizarre memes for a long time, whether the goal is to make a G-Man move in his once in A Lifetime music video(opens in a new tab) and the idea of having him host the cook-show(opens in a new tab) and awe-inspiring over the High Fidelity 4K bread(opens in a new tab) within the Source 2 engine, or simply playing the with Freeman(opens in a new tab). In Levitation it’s clear that even though Russell is present for some comedy relief Laddo sticks with the more serious, canonized G-Man. G-Man.
“It’s a breath of fresh air to animate a character completely as they are rather than for a meme,” Laddo says. Laddo. “I thought I’d play it straight when animating for the mod.” We won’t be seeing G-Man dance, or in other words. Shame.
When Alyx gets to the construction site she is battling the Combine with man hacks and the buzzsaw drones that fly and, without any large weapons, she’s required to cover herself to protect herself from being hit by the strider’s gun. We don’t know how the Combine was up to within Sector X, we can observe massive machinery for excavation before the conclusion in the trailer for gameplay suggesting that to climb to the apartment building floating above, Alyx first might need to dig deep into the earth.
Making the VR mod presented a problem to the Levitation team as per Laddo it was more complex than previous modding or mapping projects that the team has worked on before.
“There’s not a ton of [documentation] out there for Source 2, unlike Source, so we have been getting some very much appreciated help from talented modders within the Source 2 community in regards to troubleshooting,” Laddo says. Laddo. “With VR it throws another spanner in the works as levels and animations have to be carefully constructed to make sure the player can’t escape or see anything they shouldn’t. It’s been a very interesting experience as I have never animated for a game project before.”
Levitation introduces a few new characters, such as Alyx’s co-resisters in the resistance Maya and Barry However, there are also those familiar faces. In light of the inevitability of recruiting the voice actors who originally played the characters (Russell for instance, was the voice of New Zealand actor Rhys Darby of Flight of the Conchords and Our Flag Means Death) the Levitation team instead sought substitutes.
“For the G-Man, we wanted someone who could provide that sinister unnatural tone the character is known for, and so we discovered VoxPlay who impressed us with his talent,” Laddo adds. “It’s a slightly different take on the character than we’re used to, and the community has been divisive on the voice, but I think we have made the right choice. As for Russell, we found Joey Bracken(opens in new tab) who does the best impression of Rhys Darby that I think I have ever heard. It’s uncanny.”
For VR in general, Laddo believes it’s in its early days but has plenty of potentials shortly. “The hardware is constantly improving year by year, and we’ve had a lot of quality games so far like Bone works which have pushed the envelope for VR game design. I think the PSVR 2 could end up contributing strongly to VR’s future if it is a success, and may lead to more stabs at the platform by triple-A developers.”
What’s next for Valve about Half-Life, Laddo would be content regardless of whether it’s a VR game or a desktop version similar to the previous games.
“If they can improve on their VR formula I think Half-Life 3 could be unreal, however, a classic style Half-Life game would be just as desirable,” Laddo says. Laddo. “I think we may still see Half-Life 3, but it’s going to be a while I reckon.” At least, until then, we’ll be able to play Levitation to enjoy while we sit and wait.
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