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Original Half-Life writer Marc Laidlaw was heavily consulted on Half-Life: Alyx

According to Valve, though Laidlaw parted ways with the company years ago, he still happily and heavily consulted on the story of Half-Life: Alyx.


It’s always a little unnerving when the original voice of a franchise is no longer there. Marc Laidlaw was instrumental in the story and narratives of the original Half-Life games, but left Valve in 2016, meaning a few new writers have been on the series. There might not be any need to worry about Half-Life: Alyx breaking away from Laidlaw’s vision too much though. According to Valve, Marc Laidlaw was consulted heavily on the development of Half-Life: Alyx’s story.

Valve revealed Marc Laidlaw’s role in Half-Life: Alyx’s development during a Q&A on Reddit on January 22, 2020. When Laidlaw left Valve after 18 years, many wondered if there might be bad blood between Laidlaw and his former company. It was a rumor stirred by the fact that in 2017, just a year after, Laidlaw dropped a “fanfic” for the script of Half-Life 2 Episode 3. That said, According to Valve, these rumors have not only been untrue, but Laidlaw has been a hefty part of designing Half-Life: Alyx’s narrative.

According to Valve, Laidlaw and some of the design of the original Half-Life figured heavily into their approach to Half-Life: Alyx.
According to Valve, Laidlaw and some of the design of the original Half-Life figured heavily into their approach to Half-Life: Alyx.

Though Half-Life: Alyx’s plot wasn’t written directly by Laidlaw, the team behind the game consulted him for narrative advice throughout the development process - a request to which Laidlaw enthusiastically complied.

“He's been super generous with his time throughout the development of HL:A, Answering many questions from Erik [Wolpaw], Jay [Pinkerton], and Sean [Vanaman] as they hammered away on the story,” Valve wrote. “As is always the case with Marc, we send him an email, and he sends us a response, and then roughly 40 more replies to his own email.”

That is to say, the team behind Half-Life: Alyx seems to fully understand and respect Marc Laidlaw’s place in the creation of Half-Life canon. Though Half-Life: Alyx is undoubtedly a new frontier with the writer’s behind it, it would seem that Laidlaw’s influence will still figure heavily into the final narrative product.

Valve is confident in launching Half-Life: Alyx in March 2020 on Steam and Microsoft Windows via all applicable VR platforms. Stay tuned to Shacknews for further news and information as we approach the game’s release.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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