With gamers having waited years for word on the next entry in the Half-Life saga, many of the reactions couldn't have been more impassioned than when Half-Life: Alyx was announced on Twitter by Valve with a brief trailer. However, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt developer CD Projekt RED isn't exactly convinced of its viability in the market, given that the game is currently VR-only.
According to Destructoid, the subject of Half-Life: Alyx's presence with that of Cyberpunk 2077 in the Spring of 2020 came up in an investor earnings call at CD Projekt RED. Andrzej Nowakowski, senior vice president of business investment at the publisher, immediately dismissed the idea that Cyberpunk 2077 will be cut into by Half-Life: Alyx.
Nowakowski said that Half-Life: Alyx was a surprising announcement, though surprising for the fact that the game is VR-only. Nowakowski explained that the only reason he could think for Valve's decision to develop a VR Half-Life title was to expand the VR niche, which he indicates is an incredibly small niche.
Ultimately, Nowakowski determined that CD Projekt RED isn't afraid of the proposed competition by Half-Life: Alyx given this small niche. He also stated that there isn't a huge "push" for VR as it stands anyhow, implying that CD Projekt RED won't likely be stepping into the VR arena any time soon.
Nowakowski's comments are valid for a multitude of reasons. First, as the earnings call suggests, Cyberpunk 2077 and Half-Life: Alyx are both very different animals. Both may be narrative-driven adventures with some degree of gunplay and feature a first-person perspective. However, the similarities end beyond both games' science-fiction vibes. Firstly, Cyberpunk 2077 leans in a self-explanatory cyberpunk direction while Half-Life takes things on a different science-fiction route.
Nowakowski could be right in not taking Half-Life: Alyx as much of a threat, though the more interesting takeaway from the earnings call is Nowakowski's observation that Valve may be trying to expand the VR market. Whether true or untrue, Half-Life: Alyx's ability to push VR into a broader market will depend on the passion of the franchise's fans and the craving for more content on VR devices.