After nearly eight years in development, an ambitious VR mod for Valve's seminal shooter Half-Life 2 finally launches on Steam today as a public beta.
Created by a group of modders going by the name of Source VR Mod Team, Half-Life 2: VR Mod has had a bit of a bumpy journey to release. Eurogamer first reported on the project back in 2017, but that version was actually an extension of an earlier mod released for Razer Hydra in 2013. Some time after, it disappeared into what the team recently called "its own kind of development hell", almost being abandoned, but eventually re-emerged in 2021.
The wait continued until last month, when Source VR Mod Team announced that, thanks to a "new influx of team members [that] revitalised" development, the Half-Life 2: VR project was poised to release, and that day is now here.
Half-Life 2: VR Mod - one of several attempts to bring the shooter sequel to VR headsets - brings a range of features, including room scale VR with tracked motion controls, giving players the ability to manipulate items and weapons, and climb ladders directly with their hands.
There's also full locomotion, a weapon selection menu inspired by Valve's Half-Life: Alyx (over-the-shoulder ammo storage, functional iron-sights, two-handed weapons, and manual reloading are also in), plus various comfort features including motion vignette and a third-person camera for vehicle sections. Additional options include full left-handed support, a laser sight, and arcade-style "quick reload".
Half-Life 2: VR is free and playable by anyone that owns Valve's original game, but, importantly, is not yet finished. While the team says the game can "be fully completed from start to finish" and is "very enjoyable to do so", there's still work to be done, as detailed on its roadmap. As such, it's initially being released on Steam as a public beta, so its developers can "make it the best VR experience we possibly can".
If you're curious to see Half-Life 2: VR Mod in action before jumping straight in, Eurogamer's Ian Higton took it for a spin earlier this year.
Will you support Eurogamer?
We want to make Eurogamer better, and that means better for our readers - not for algorithms. You can help! Become a supporter of Eurogamer and you can view the site completely ad-free, as well as gaining exclusive access to articles, podcasts and conversations that will bring you closer to the team, the stories, and the games we all love. Subscriptions start at £3.99 / $4.99 per month.