Half-Life: Alyx is on the way so Valve has made the series free on Steam for a few months. At this point, the series should stay that way.
Half-Life is a great series. It basically caused a narrative revolution in video games. Then Half-Life 2 went on one-upped it brilliantly. Since then, Half-Life has basically been over. Despite ending on a cliff-hanger, multiple times, we’ve never received a final entry to the series.
We’ve had some luck over the past few weeks though. Valve has announced a new title in the Half-Life series. Sort of. It’s a VR title and it’s set before the events of the second game. But, at this stage, we’ll take what we can get.
To celebrate Valve has made all the Half-Life games free-to-play from now until the game releases in March of this year. They should probably just make that a permanent deal at this point.
Your first reaction is probably to balk at the idea of Half-Life being free. Valve did put a lot of effort into the games, especially the first one. It was a massive risk since they weren’t an established company at the time too. They should rightly be rewarded for the work they’ve done.
The thing is. They have been rewarded. Valve is now one of the most well-known and beloved companies in gaming. Even if they’ve had their controversies over the past few years, they’re still a top company. Steam is legendary, and Valve makes tons of money from it.
It’s not just that they’ve made money. The last Half-Life game was released in 2007. It’s been 13 years. These games are getting old, but they’re still great. More than that, they’re important. It’s not just about wanting something for free.
The real reason that these games need to stay free is that they need to be played. The Half-Life series has influenced gaming in ways that people cannot possibly imagine. Yet, many younger gamers have probably never had a chance to play them.
Making these important pieces of art available to all is an important step in the maturation of gaming as a medium. Not only would it help to make gamers aware of where we’ve been, but it would help Half-Life to continue to influence game creators for years to come.
I understand that there are reasons Valve won’t want to make these games free forever. Obviously they still hold up enough to sell to this day. Why give something away for free when you can sell it? Regardless, if anyone should understand these games’ importance it’s Valve.