First Half-Life: Alyx no VR mod removes requirement to play the game in a headset

(Image credit: Valve)

A Half-Life: Alyx modder has already found a way to play the game outside of its virtual reality criteria, allowing users to enjoy Valve's latest PC exclusive via a traditional mouse and keyboard setup. 

As explained by Unreal Academy in the video below, Half-Life: Alyx's code contains hidden non-VR debug commands that can be activated through modding trickery, removing the need to enjoy the game with a VR headset. 

This does, of course, come with a number of limitations. You can't use Alyx's now signature gravity gloves, for instance, while the general feel of the game outside virtual reality goes against everything Valve's emphasis on tactility and immersion built specifically for that format. 

Indeed, Valve had assumed that modders would crack this code long before the game's launch on PC last week. In an interview with Polygon,  designer Robin Walker predicted that the awkward results would "clearly demonstrate to people why we did this in VR."

"It will be a very crisp way of seeing all the stuff we got for the move into VR. If people play [a modded version on a standard display] and say this is just as good, that will teach me a lot. I will realize I'm wrong, and we didn't get as much as we thought, and I love to know whenever I'm wrong." 

Looking at the non-VR gameplay in action, it's hard to deny Walker's predictions. Still, the speed at which the mod was created does reflect an appetite amongst Half-Life fans who can't afford to play the latest instalment in the famed series due to its pricey VR paywalls. Here's hoping Valve releases the prequel onto more platforms in future to ease the pain. 

Valve also recently said the success of Alyx will determine if the next Half-Life game will also be a VR experience.  

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.