Valve Responds to Half-Life: Alyx Voice Actor Change

Valve has responded to fan questions about why the voice actor for Alyx Vance was recast for upcoming VR game Half-Life: Alyx, stating that the studio was looking for a “different direction”.Discussing the game on Reddit as part of a Half-Life: Alyx AMA, Valve said “We worked with Merle [Dandridge] at the beginning of HL:A development, but in the end, felt we wanted to go in a different direction. We love Merle, her work in Half-Life 2 was instrumental in bringing Alyx to life, and we hope to work with her again in the future.”Mere Dandridge voiced Alyx Vance, Gordon Freeman’s key companion, in Half-Life 2 and its two episodic expansions. As the only person to voice the character, Dandridge’s vocals have become iconic for one of the most recognizable women in games. As such, many players were disappointed to learn that she won’t be reprising the role for Half-Life: Alyx, in which Vance is the protagonist.

Valve has offered no further explanation beyond this, which has left many people in the Reddit thread frustrated. It is currently unclear why Valve wished to go in a different direction, or even what that direction is. Theories tend to land around the idea of Valve wanting a younger voice as Half-Life: Alyx is a prequel and thus features a younger Alyx, but without further comment from Valve it is unclear as to the studio’s intentions.

Half-Life: Alyx First Screenshots (4K)

Alyx will this time be played by Ozioma Akagha. Her father, Eli Vance, has also been recast, with James Moses Black stepping into Robert Guillaume’s role. This change, however, is due to Guillaume having passed away.

Other details from today’s Reddit AMA include how Half-Life: Alyx will support a variety of accessibility options such as one-armed play, left-handed mode, and the ability to play the game seated. Valve also revealed how the development team for Half-Life: Alyx is the biggest the company’s ever had at “around 80 people.”

During the AMA the developers also confirmed that Half-Life: Alyx is “done”, and that the team are confident that it will release this March. Hopefully that’s not another game on the delay pile, then.

Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer. You can follow him on Twitter.

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