If you’ve never played Portal with the developer commentary turned on, do yourself a favour and treat yourself to a pretty solid Saturday afternoon. Before Valve essentially retired from making games to focus mainly on Steam, they often threw in little nuggets of behind-the-scenes notes in their titles. Often they were highly informative and it was genuinely funny hearing the developers banter but it’s been a long time since we’ve had anything like that. Yet Valve has defied many expectations this year by actually releasing a video game in the form of Half-Life: Alyx which, following an update, now also includes developer commentary.
More than three hours of commentary has been added to the game, delving into everything from the sound design to the gunplay and to how weird it was picking up a headcrab (I assume that’s a topic. If it’s not, it should be). The update has added 147 points of interest around the world, taking the form of headsets that players can pick up and strap to their faces. From there on out you can listen to the dulcet tones of Valve discuss the difficulties of rendering and working from home during a pandemic, the reason why the commentary didn’t ship with the initial release of the game.
Just be warned that some audio levels might not be entirely balanced right out the gate, with the game’s Steam post saying “Like much of the world, we are all working from home, which means that rather than using our comfortable high-quality recording studio at the office, we have been recording our commentary voice overs in closets and blanket forts around greater Seattle.”
I don’t know, recording in a blanket fort sounds way more comfortable than in a studio booth. Sounds like a blessing to be honest.
Last Updated: November 13, 2020