A recent piece of code has been unearthed hiding in the DOTA 2 and Destinations updates. The Valve virtual reality app designed to complement the umbrella company’s Steam VR escapades, was updated a couple of weeks ago and holds within it specific lines of code relating to a project suspiciously called HL:VR.
Similarly an update to Steam’s DOTA 2 reveals a piece of code “used to force the HL:VR to speak”. The concurrent appearance of both the code nuggets suggests the project is in motion. Some argue that these hints are simply leftover experimentation projects, but their resurgence during a period of great VR growth, as well as the revelation that at least a third of Valve’s employees are hard at work on VR projects bodes well for fans.
It’s likely that if we do see Half-Life VR in the future it will be as a spin-off, as so many AAA VR projects are at the moment. In 2014, Jeep Barnett asserted that VR was on the table for the Half-Life series, and 2015 saw HTC’s announcement that it was working on a Half-Life title for the Vive headset shortly after the two companies merged.
Half-Life 3‘s projected 2018 release window indicates a form of VR side-show, with voiceless protagonist Gordon Freeman perhaps not partaking (assumed from the code that indicates voice). However Valve has remained suspiciously silent over the whole project, so there’s room for optimism in Vive owners.