Half-Life: Alyx Trailer Breakdown: New Details, Enemies, and Easter Eggs
The first Half-Life game in 12 years has officially been revealed, and the Half-Life: Alyx trailer is packed with familiar faces and brand new surprises alike. It’s a prequel set between Half-Life one and two, so join us as we breakdown every secret, reveal, and reference we caught.
If you haven’t watched the Half-Life: Alyx trailer yet, you can do that below. We’ll also be listing timecodes for specific moments and using loops of them throughout:0:04 – Starting right off, you play as Alyx Vance, Gordon Freeman’s partner in revolution from Half-Life 2. The trailer opens as she sneaks through an abandoned laundromat, and what appears to be a new type of headcrab can be seen skittering across the floor. It has manta ray-like flaps, a tail sticking up behind it, and a blue glow on its back.
0:17 – Of course, it’s not long before a regular headcrab appears and attacks (a true terror to consider in VR).0:19 – After it cuts to black, an unknown character can be heard saying “Alyx?” before Alyx herself responds. That’s right, this will be the first Half-Life game with a voiced protagonist. Speaking to PC Gamer, Valve said that this slightly younger version of Alyx will be voiced by Ozioma Akagha instead of original voice actress Merle Dandridge.
0:23 – Now we get our first look at the lovely new City17 and the towering Citadel at its center, notably still being built at this point in the timeline. Hunter-Chopper Combine helicopters can be seen transporting what look to be building materials, and that same new voice talks about them turning the tide by getting a mysterious weapon. The hunt for that weapon could be the driving goal of Half-Life: Alyx.
0:30 – Down on the street we see a Combine Strider, but this one is different. It could potentially be some kind of early or prototype, with strange metal parts on its legs and a platform carrying a Combine soldier on its head. You can also see massive blue lights in the background, suggesting Alyx is closer to the Citadel by now.
Additionally, this shot gives us our first glimpse at some new (or old, rather) uniforms of the Combine, but we’ll get a better look at them later. Alyx also talks about a “vault” that she is trying to make it to, potentially where that weapon mentioned earlier is being held.
0:31 – It’s not clear yet what the floating structure in front of Alyx is, but it’s possibly being held down or powered by wires. It could be a ship or a part of the Citadel under construction – but if I had to guess, it might be (or house) the vault Alyx was referring to. Either way, it seems like she is definitely trying to find a way up there.
0:33 – The trailer also offers our first glimpse at some puzzle solving. It seems like Alyx will use some sort of new tool to look at wires on the inside of certain walls or panels, rotating the sections in circles to complete the connection.
0:36 – After that, we have the all too familiar sight of a Combine Smart Barrier (aka those big weird walls) with what looks to be a giant plug used to block the train tunnel being removed, likely opening Alyx’s way through.
0:38 – Then, we finally get a face for that New Zealand accented voice, who is played by Flight of the Conchords’ Rhys Darby! We still don’t know who this guy is, and he’s not wearing any sort of familiar outfit to the Half-Life world. But judging by his voice being over the comms throughout this trailer, it’s likely he’ll be Alyx’s absentee partner in crime during the game.
0:40 – The Gravity Gun may not have been invented yet, but we do get a look at Alyx’s new gravity (grabbity?) gloves. Being a VR game, her gloves also double as a UI, with the lights on them clearly show your health using LED hearts. An icon in blue at this point could possibly be your shield percentage as well.
0:46 – Avoiding being shot accidentally, the gravity gloves are put into action as Alyx pulls a pistol to her hand, loading the magazine manually with her other hand. You can see an orange glow to a device that flips up on her right hand when she grabs the gun, similar to the actual Gravity Gun in Half-Life 2.
0:49 – Getting into the action, Alyx puts her left hand on a terminal that appears to heal her up. The green goo in the machine looks to be fueled by an Antlion Grub, which you could actually step on for green health orbs in Half-Life 2: Episode 2. Gross! You can also see that the UI on the glove that was previously showing shields is now showing ammo, and Alyx’s LED hearts fill up as she is healed.
As for the combat itself, the classic headcrab-headed zombies seem to behave similarly to Half-Life 2, even hitting a barrel across the room and dropping off their host when the body is shot instead of the head. And, of course, shooting red things makes them go boom.
0:50 – The advertisement on the wall encouraging people to drink water could also be a reference to this infamous line from Half-Life 2: “Don’t drink the water. They put something in it to make you forget. I don’t even remember how I got here.”
0:59 – In another encounter, Alyx sweeps away a bunch of junk to find some ammo, which she then has to manually load into her gun. During that moment, you can see what looks to be a red and black flashlight now attached to her left glove, as well as toy on the shelf that is clearly a Scout from Team Fortress 2.
A digital ammo indicator can also be seen on the back of the gun once she takes a shot at those fancy new Combine enemies.
1:06 – Here we also get our first view of a younger looking Dr. Eli Vance, Alyx’s father, clearly captured by the Combine.
1:08 – That’s followed by our best look yet at the Combine. Apart from the clear graphical upgrade that comes from a 15 year gap, these new Combine outfits have backpacks and orange stripes. The shinier metal helmet suggest they may be Combine Civil Protection officers rather than general soldiers, especially since they appear to be raiding (another) apartment complex here, as seen in Half-Life 2’s opening minutes. And if you look closely, you can even see a Combine City Scanner floating behind them!
1:09 – Unlike the last Strider, here we get an under-side shot of regular one walking over Alyx in what appears to be the debris from some sort of Combine structure.
1:10 – And if that wasn’t tense enough, everyone’s favorite worst nightmare are back: Poison Headcrabs. You can tell these ones are Poison specifically thanks to their darker color and the little bits of hair on their body. There’s also a ceiling-dwelling Barnacle just off screen, seen roping in the corpse of one of those headcrabs.
1:12 – The next few shots are blink-and-you’ll-miss-it quick, but there’s a lot of info in them. This sequence kicks off with a shot of a Combine Razor Train, which are used to transport supplies and prisoners to other cities and prison systems.
We also get to hear Eli speak for the first time, who is being voiced by James Moses Black as original voice actor Robert Guillaume sadly passed away in 2017.
1:14 – Next, Alyx and the unknown Kiwi seem to be planning something using a holographic map. As Alyx sets down a cup, a wireframe object appears above it, but it’s hard to tell exactly of what. Maybe a head, or possibly the weapon they are looking for?
1:14 – A beefier Combine enemy with a black helmet is seen just before Alyx breaks a classic Half-Life ammo supply crate over its head. Amidst the packing peanuts, you can actually see a gun magazine fall out!
1:16 – Some more barnacles are quickly followed by a what seems like nasty looking Xen hive manifesting. Xen is the alien plane Black Mesa opened up in Half-Life one, and there’s what appears to be a Xen Tree growing in the middle of the room. Are those eyeballs sprouting from the bottom right of the screen too?! Disgusting!
1:17 – That Xen mess is followed by an abstract shot of a hallway made of various scrap metal and wood with more of those purple eyes up above, as well as a strange unknown symbol on a door. Could this weird scene be a vision granted by the G-Man?
1:18 – Back to reality, we get another look at puzzle solving. This time, Alyx is using a tool to angle laser beams into the right position to hit a bunch of orange orbs, but to what end we aren’t sure.
1:19 – The gravity hands are in full effect here again as Alyx pulls something off of a soldiers belt. We’re guessing it’s some sort of new grenade judging by the red light that starts after a piece of metal is removed, similar to the light on Combine grenades in Half-Life 2.
1:20 – Then there’s an up close look at some more zombies, but hidden in the shadows to the back right is a brand new and downright terrifying type of spiky black headcrab zombie. Yikes.
1:21 – That’s followed by another new enemy: a Barnacle with what appears to be either a captured and morphed combine soldier, or maybe some kind of lure or bait in the shape of a person? It’s unclear, but nasty regardless.
1:22 – And the new enemies keep coming, as we see new type of electrified zombie that attacks Alyx with an electro-slam. There’s also some sort of hazmat-suit Combine dead in the bottom left corner.
1:24 – More familiarly, Antlions are back and attacking Alyx as a group here. These ones appear to have hot spots on their limbs that allow them to be blown off when shot.
1:29 – The body of the trailer ends with another shot of that floating structure from earlier, or at least the same type of structure. This time it has far fewer wires running up to it, Alyx is much closer, and it seems to be lower to the ground. Clearly Alyx is trying to get in there.
1:30 – As a bonus easter egg, the Y in the “Alyx” logo can be flipped upside down to resemble Half-Life’s signature lamba symbol!
1:36 – And, of course, what’s a Half-Life game without the return of our “mutual friend,” the G-Man?
Half-Life: Alyx First Screenshots (4K)
That’s everything we caught in Half-Life: Alyx’s debut trailer! Let us know in the comments below if you saw anything else or have any wild theories about what’s going on in this game.
And for more details on Half-Life: Alyx, check out our interview with Valve about it, or read up on our history of Half-Life VR rumors and leaks.
Tom Marks is IGN’s Deputy Reviews Editor and resident pie maker. You can follow him on Twitter. Brandon Hunt is a Branded Social Producer for IGN’s Social Team, really, really, really wants a pet headcrab tbh, and live on Twitter at @mediavandal.Eric Sapp has been waiting for this day for over twelve years and finally (after constant screaming) got to see Half-Life make its return. You can find him on Twitter @ericsapp where even more Half-Life screaming will likely continue.