The hype is real for Half-Life: Alyx as millions of gamers around the world heard the news about this highly anticipated game. We saw just how crisp everything looked in the trailer and to our surprise we learned that Valve has assigned around 60 people to develop this game.
Half-Life 2 was first launched in 2004 and has sold more than 4 million copies of the game with over 35 game awards. Valve has been releasing continual episodes for Half-Life 2 (episode 1 & episode 2) but they weren’t a full release title. However, after 15 years, Valve will be following up with a full release title being Half-Life: Alyx and it’s surprising to learn that only 60 people are assigned to the project by Valve.
On average we see a team of around 100 – 1,500 people working on AAA game titles. According to Ubisoft Reflections managing director Pauline Jacquey, their team assigned around 400 to 600 people creating an Assassin’s Creed game.
But according to Matt Charlesworth who is currently working on the Half-Life: Alyx project, they are manning the ship with just around 60 with 20 assigned to the art department.
But this is not to say that the game isn’t receiving the attention or budget it requires to make a great game. Talent and value goes a long ways and Valve has a great track record in producing games the right way. Just look at Counter-Strike or the previous Half-Life games. They turned out to be terrific and still have millions of people playing their IP.
The interesting thing about HL:Alyx is that it will be on a new platform being VR. Virtual reality is a relatively new platform that is starting to make its way into the mass consumer market. There have been a few AAA VR titles released thus far on the platform but this will be Valve’s first with their own IP.
So there is no “blueprint” to how a company can develop a AAA game in virtual reality. Rather, it’s a new frontier where developers and artists can try out new things for users like us to experience, good or bad.
There is nothing to judge the game off of besides the trailer and from what we can see so far, it looks quite fantastic. There will be more news about HL:Alyx in December so stay tuned for that.