Half-Life: Alyx Ending Explained – What It Means For The Series And VR

The big day is upon us, which means that, pretty soon, people are going to be talking about the insane Half-Life: Alyx ending. 

To say that Alyx’s ending is full of surprising twists and major revelations is to put it lightly. There are some developments in the ending that cast new light on previous Half-Life games and might hint at what’s to come for the future of the series, Valve and possibly VR. Let’s unpack exactly what happens and why it means so much to this legendary franchise. Obviously things are about to get very spoilery…

FULL SPOILERS FOR HALF-LIFE: ALYX ENDING BELOW

As you probably know by now, Half-Life: Alyx is a prequel set before the events of Half-Life 2 and its episodic expansions. You play as Alyx Vance, a member of a resistance group fighting back against the rule of an evil alien race known as the Combine. 

Much of Alyx’s story sees the titular character trying to reach the Vault, a floating behemoth hovering above City 17, kept airborne by a set of massive cables surrounding it. Alyx’s father, Eli, discovers that the Combine are keeping something inside the Vault. At first they suspect it’s a superweapon. Then Alyx learns (via a nod to future games) it is in fact, a living being. Everyone immediately assumes it’s Gordon Freeman, the protagonist of Half-Life and Half-Life 2. Thus they set off to save him.

Alyx decouples the cables powering the Vault (with the help of some friendly Vortigaunts) and a backup power generator. The Vault promptly crashes and Alyx is able to get onboard. There she initially discovers a surreal facsimile of different buildings, presumably within City 17, following a ghostly figure.

Once Alyx passes through this area and makes quick work of some final Combine soldiers, she gets to Gordon’s containment cell. Only upon opening it does she discover that it’s not Gordon at all; the Combine have actually captured G-Man, the mysterious supernatural figure that stalks Gordon in past Half-Life games, still fitted with his iconic blue business suit and black briefcase.

In return for his release, G-Man grants Alyx one favor. She immediately requests getting the Combine off of Earth but G-Man declines, reasoning that that is too big of a push. Instead, he has another idea…

Suddenly, Alyx is subject to an out-of-body experience and time travels to end of Half-Life 2: Episode 2. In that infamous cliffhanger from 2007, Gordon and Alyx are about to set out on a new mission when a Combine attack kills her father, leaving Alyx cradling him in her arms. Only now, G-Man reverses the scene just a few moments, giving Alyx a chance to kill the Combine. Eli picks himself up, alive and well, but is clearly in search of something.

Alyx prepares to leave but G-Man informs her that, in return for this favor, she now works for him. The game transitions to the credits with a nod to Half-Life 1’s ending, leaving you with your jaw on the floor and plenty of questions you don’t think will be answered in the Half-Life: Alyx ending…

Except, toward the end of the credits, you hear a voice. It’s Eli but noticeably different from how he’s sounded for the rest of the game. He’s gruffer, older like in Half-Life 2, and he’s not calling for Alyx; he’s calling for Gordon. 

The world fades back in and, boom, you’re Gordon Freeman, standing right where he stood at the end of Episode 2. Eli is alive and Dog is there too, but there’s no sign of Alyx. Eli seems to be perfectly aware of what’s happened, cursing “unforeseen consequences” and vowing to save Alyx. But, of course, he’ll need Gordon’s help to do that. So he hands you the crowbar and, just for a split second, you get to hold it before the game ends. 

Whew! What a rush, right? It seems like the Half-Life: Alyx ending is definitely setting up for the return of Gordon Freeman in, dare we say it, Half-Life 3. But the ending also leaves questions about the games we’ve already played. Does Alyx know exactly what’s going to happen at the end of Half-Life 2: Episode 2? Did Eli know about the deal she’s struck with G-Man?

We’ll have more coverage on the ending later this week that might help answer some of that but, for now we’ll let you sit with that. Make sure to check out our Half-Life: Alyx review, too, where we give the full rundown of our impressions. Half-Life: Alyx is available now on SteamVR.

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