Catch up on Half-Life for free on Steam

Just what's needed before the release of Half-Life: Alyx.

Oscar Gonzalez Former staff reporter
Oscar Gonzalez is a Texas native who covered video games, conspiracy theories, misinformation and cryptocurrency.
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Oscar Gonzalez
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When Half-Life: Alyx releases in March, it will be 12 years since the last entry in the franchise. Because it's been so long, publisher Valve is letting players get up to speed on the series for free.

The Half-Life Collection -- including Half-Life, Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two -- is available to play for free on Steam starting Tuesday. Players can experience the sci-fi adventure starring silent protagonist Gordon Freeman until the release of Half-Life: Alyx in March.

Read more: Want to play Half-Life: Alyx? Here's the VR gear that works  

"Half-Life: Alyx is set before the events of Half-Life 2 and the episodes, but the games share characters and story elements," Valve said in a Steam news posting Tuesday. "The Half-Life: Alyx team believes that the best way to enjoy the new game is to play through the old ones, especially Half-Life 2 and the episodes, so we want to make that as easy as possible."

Valve made the surprise announcement of the new Half-Life game last November. What was also surprising is that Half-Life: Alyx will be a VR title. The game will take place prior to the event of Half-Life 2 with players in the role of Alyx Vance, a resistance fighter against the occupying alien Combine empire. The development team confirmed Wednesday during a Reddit AMA that the game is complete and they're confident it will launch on time. 

Half-Life: Alyx will also be a key title for Valve's Index VR headset. The company released its PC-based VR device last June for $999, and the new title will be available for free to owners while everyone else will have to pay $60.

Originally published on Jan. 21.
Update, Jan. 22: Adds info from developers.