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For other uses, see Vance (disambiguation).
- "Gordon? Gordon snap out of it, you're staring at me again."
- ―Alyx Vance[src]
Alyx Vance is the deuteragonist of Half-Life 2 and its Episodes and the title protagonist of Half-Life: Alyx. She is portrayed as a woman in her mid-twenties (in HL2 and its Episodes) or as a 19 year old (in Half Life: Alyx), and is a prominent figure in the Resistance campaign against the rule of the Combine.
As a young child, Alyx lived in the dormitories within the confines of the Black Mesa Research Facility along with her father Eli and her mother Azian, while Eli was working at the Sector C Test Labs. When the Black Mesa Incident occurred, Eli managed to escape along with Alyx and a family picture, while Azian was killed in the incident. During the course of the incident, the G-Man was instrumental in rescuing Alyx, despite the objections of unnamed naysayers. Alyx was apparently too young to remember this, and although Eli witnessed it, he never shared the story with her.
Alyx was raised by Eli in the world controlled by the Combine, likely at Black Mesa East much of the time. During this time, Alyx was also on good terms with Isaac Kleiner, referring to him as "Uncle Kleiner" in an affectionate portrait she once offered him. During Alyx's childhood, Eli used scrap metal to create Dog, a sentient robot designed to protect her, making him physically powerful, intelligent and with an in-built sixth sense so that he could always know Alyx's whereabouts. Although the initial model was a mere meter high, Alyx added new parts to Dog over time, making him a towering 2.5 meters high at the time of Half-Life 2.
As Alyx reached adulthood, she began working with the Resistance, as one of the core members of the City 17 branch, most notably assisting Kleiner and Barney Calhoun in helping citizens escape the city to Black Mesa East through the old Canals, as well as helping Kleiner, her father and Judith Mossman establish a teleport connection between Black Mesa East and Kleiner's Lab. She is working with this at the time of Half-Life 2.
Alyx is one of the most important characters in Half-Life 2, as she helps Gordon Freeman more frequently and directly than most other characters. Her first appearance is in the first chapter of the game, Point Insertion, in a scene where Gordon has been intercepted by Civil Protection units while he is still an unarmed civilian, due to a miscount detection. Alyx rushes in the room and takes down the CPs by herself (although this is not explicitly shown on-screen). Subsequently, she escorts Gordon to Kleiner's Lab, there they meet up with Barney and Kleiner. After Gordon puts on his HEV suit, they enter the teleport room to be teleported to Eli Vance's lab in Black Mesa East. However, the two unintentionally part ways after Kleiner's teleportation device malfunctions, forcing Gordon to continue through City 17 on his own.
When Gordon finally arrives in Black Mesa East, he is welcomed by Alyx and her father. Later, she gives Gordon the Gravity Gun and demonstrates its use. Alyx is also shown having a heated argument with Dr. Judith Mossman, a hostility that appears justified as Mossman is revealed a traitor in the chapter Entanglement, where Gordon helps Alyx search Nova Prospekt for her captured father.
In the chapter Anticitizen One, she fights alongside Gordon through a section of City 17 during the armed uprising but they are again separated when Alyx is kidnapped by Overwatch Soldiers while scouting an escape route from a rooftop vantage point. They are reunited later in the chapter Dark Energy, when Gordon reaches Breen's office in the Citadel. There she provides indirect assistance to Gordon during the final confrontation with Dr. Breen in the Citadel's dark fusion reactor. Alyx also seems to have made peace with Dr. Mossman after seeing her turn on Dr. Breen and release Gordon Freeman, Eli and Alyx herself from their imprisonment.
In the ending scene of Half-Life 2, Alyx is with Gordon at the time of the Dark Energy explosion. While the G-Man saves Gordon from the enormous blast, Alyx is apparently left behind, frozen in time with one arm shielding her eyes.
Half-Life 2: Episode One
Alyx manages to survive, being rescued by Vortigaunts, who also free Gordon from the influence of his "employer," the G-Man; after being teleported away at the foot of the Citadel and briefly revisiting it to postpone the destruction of the Citadel Core, Alyx and Gordon stick together for most of Episode One, finally getting to the exit from City 17 and jumping on the last Resistance train wagon heading out of the City just as the Citadel explodes.
Half-Life 2: Episode Two
Alyx appears in Episode Two throughout the game, and is almost always with Gordon. She once again rescues Gordon at the beginning of the game by using the Gravity Gun to free him from the remains of their crashed train, which fell off a bridge that was destroyed because of the Citadel explosion at the end of Episode One.
After making a first communication with White Forest, a large Resistance base, she is severely injured by a Hunter, but Gordon and a Vortigaunt manage to steal Antlion extract and use it to save her. During the process of reviving her, the G-Man reappears and informs Gordon that the reason Alyx remained alive during the events of Half-Life 2 and its expansions is because he "plucked" her from Black Mesa before the Resonance Cascade destroyed the facility, ignoring the orders from his superiors - that she was a mere child and of no practical use. He tells Gordon to escort her to White Forest safely, telling Alyx to relay the words "prepare for unforeseen consequences" to her father. She then accompanies Gordon on their journey to get to White Forest. Throughout the journey, she helps Gordon at many points, by providing sniping support for him using a mounted Combine sniper rifle as he makes his way through a Zombie-infested industrial complex to get to the Muscle Car or by using her gun on enemies while he is driving.
At the end of the game, her father Eli is killed by an Advisor before she and Gordon get into a chopper to go looking for Dr. Mossman. While she and Gordon watch, helpless, pinned down onto the walls by the Advisors' psionic powers, Dog jumps through the roof and attacks the Advisor before it can do the same thing to Alyx and Gordon, severely injuring it causing both Advisors to flee. Alyx cries over Eli's body as Gordon passes out and the credits roll.
Alyx serves as the protagonist of Half-Life: Alyx, set five years before the events of Half-Life 2 and its episodes. While doing reconnaissance for the Resistance, Eli Vance stumbles upon information about a supposed Combine superweapon. When both Vances are captured by the Combine, a Resistance mechanic named Russell breaks Alyx out of captivity in order to rescue him. Along the way, Alyx meets an eccentric Vortigaunt who warns her that her father is fated to die in the future, and she vows to do whatever she can to prevent this.
After rescuing Eli with the help of the Vortigaunt, she heads off to a Combine ship called the Vault said to contain the superweapon. However, they soon learn the Vault actually serves as the prison for a powerful individual who survived the Black Mesa Incident. Assuming this person is Gordon Freeman, Alyx manages to make her way into the Vault and release the prisoner, only to encounter the G-Man. In exchange for his release the G-Man offers her his services and she requests that he get the Combine off of Earth. The G-Man refuses the request as it would be against the wishes of his "employers" but instead shows her a request she doesn't even know she wants: he transports Alyx to White Forest base moments after Eli's death and rewinds time to offer her the chance to kill the Advisor before it can kill Eli. Desperate to rescue her father, Alyx takes the offer and saves her father, but learns this was a test to prove she is just as useful as Gordon Freeman, who the G-Man notes is unwilling or unable to fulfill his services. The G-Man then leaves Alyx in stasis as she pleads for him to let her go.
Alyx's actions ultimately result in Eli's survival, but she is taken out of White Forest by the G-Man. Eli vows revenge on the G-Man and recruits Gordon to rescue her.
Alyx has brown, short hair with streaks of red (a reminiscence of her original fully red hair,) a headband and green eyes. She wears worn-out clothes, as most of the Half-Life 2 characters: a brown leather jacket with the right sleeve attached to the rest with duct tape, jeans and brown work boots, with a grey hooded sweater bearing the Black Mesa logo, with the words "Black Mesa" under it. She has black fingerless rappelling gloves and a tensor bandage around her right hand (it is unknown if it is for the looks or if she was previously hurt). She also wears a green belt where her gun and EMP Tool are attached; purple underwear can also be seen from behind. Around her neck is a little box-like jewel, made out of wood or metal, which apparently belonged to her mother, according to the Vance family picture. A birthmark can also be seen at the stem of her neck. At the beginning of Episode One, she gains a small scar above her right eyebrow, presumably inflicted at the end of Half-Life 2 and having been dug "out of the rubble." During Episode Two, her jacket is damaged when the Hunter wounds her, also staining her undershirt with blood.
Personality and skills
Alyx is a skilled hacker: she is able to operate and manipulate Combine-based objects such as turrets with the help of her gear, and also wields an EMP Tool used to perform a variety of tasks.
She is also very proficient with a pistol, and hand-to-hand combat, as she single-handedly defeats six Civil Protection officers who almost capture Gordon during his escape from the tenement block at the start of Half-Life 2, and helps fight alongside Gordon briefly during the chapters Entanglement and Anticitizen One in Half-Life 2. In Episode One, Alyx accompanies Gordon for most of the game and demonstrates additional fighting skills previously unseen, using a shotgun and kicking and kneeing off Zombies when they get too close. she is also fairly skilled with the use of Sniper Rifles as seen during episodes 1 and 2, where she provides cover for Gordon using Overwatch Sniper Rifles.
Despite Alyx's friendly nature, she shows some hostility towards Dr. Mossman because of Mossman's somewhat patronizing attitude towards her, as well as Mossman's interest in her father. At the end of Half-Life 2, this hostility has seemingly vanished, when Dr. Mossman helps to free Alyx and her father from the clutches of Dr. Breen.
Alyx is also a rather cheerful, optimistic person, showing some sense of humour. This is evidenced by the jokes she makes about various events. For instance, she playfully mocks Gordon's silence at the start of Half-Life 2, telling him "Man of few words, aren't you?" Another example can be experienced in the chapter Lowlife of Episode One, where she and Gordon navigate a series of Zombie-infested tunnels. During lulls in combat she imitates a Zombie growl to scare the player, then will laugh and say "Gotcha!" when they find out it is her. She also attempts another "joke" shortly after when entering a Combine troop train. She spots a dead Overwatch Soldier with a Headcrab over its head and tries to lighten the situation, by naming it a "Zombine."
Alyx is also a very sensitive person, giving some heart and realism to the series. She does not believe her eyes when she sees the state of the Citadel inside, is affected by the Stalkers' fate and behavior at the start of the Episode One chapter Lowlife, and cries over the loss of her father at the end of Episode Two.
Relationship with Gordon Freeman
Although Alyx was a child at the time of the Black Mesa Incident (at which point Gordon was 27 years old), Gordon's almost twenty years long stasis after Half-Life has more or less erased any age gap between the two.
- Eli Vance makes a teasing comment when him, Gordon and Alyx meet up in Black Mesa East: "There is nothing Gordon can't handle... with the possible exception of you!" Alyx, embarrassed, utters "Dad, please!" This is followed by a moment of awkward silence, and is also the first time such a relationship is mentioned in-game.
- The chapter Entanglement contains several scenes, mainly when the two are forced to part ways for some reason, with Alyx becoming pensive with worry and telling Gordon to be careful.
- In the chapter Dark Energy, Alyx longingly looks down upon Gordon when he descends down the elevator, to the final confrontation. She puts her hand to the glass, and solemnly says "Do your worst, Gordon, but, be careful."
Half-Life 2: Episode One
Continuing this theme, Episode One contains several situations where this relationship is developed:
- In the first chapter, Dog finds Gordon under a pile of rubble, and Alyx rushes at him and hugs him, telling him how worried she was about him. However, she soon recovers her wits, acts embarrassed and changes the subject to more pressing concerns.
- Like the chapter Dark Energy elevator scene in the previous game, the chapter Direct Intervention contains at least one scene with Gordon going down an elevator and Alyx telling him to "hurry back." Additionally, a developer commentary given during this scene verifies that a Gordon/Alyx relationship was indeed intended.
- In the chapter Lowlife, when forced to go through sewage-like sludge, Alyx comments on Gordon's HEV suit and jokingly asks "Got room for two in there?"
- In the chapter Urban Flight, having bridged a gap between two ruins (and given Gordon his trademark crowbar), Barney Calhoun additionally states "Go on across, Gordon. She's waiting for you. You lucky dog, you!"
- After Gordon has defeated the Strider at the end of the chapter Exit 17, Alyx runs up to him and tells him "You're my new hero!"
Half-Life 2: Episode Two
Their possible relationship is hinted even more obviously in Episode Two:
- In order to resurrect Alyx after the near-fatal attack by a Hunter, Gordon participates in a Vortigaunt ritual wherein his life is "weaved" with hers in a pact that might resemble a marriage (or a Vortigaunt variation) somewhat. After being informed as to the intense struggles Gordon went through to retrieve the Antlion larval extract (which was essential to the ritual,) Alyx replies "Yep, that's Gordon."
- After the previous highlighted scene, the Vortigaunt, Gordon and a weakened Alyx enter an elevator. Alyx asks Gordon to stand "next to her." This implicates that Alyx feels safer when he is near to her, at least when she is in a disoriented state.
- While Alyx and Gordon are in the Muscle Car, If the player looks over at Alyx for long enough, she may wink at Gordon.
- In the sequence where Gordon must go ahead in order to take down the Autogun, he jumps down a gap, leaving Alyx with the two rebels above. The last thing heard is one of the rebels asking Alyx "So, uh... is that your boyfriend?" However, her answer cannot be heard (noclipping shows that she is not even answering, and that no answer was scripted at all).
- In his most obvious comment, her father jokes about everyone "doing their part," playing off of Dr. Kleiner's speech to the public about the Suppression Field being down, along with expressing his desire of having grandkids: when Alyx confirms she and Gordon make a pretty good team, her father answers "That's good, because now that the Suppression Field is down, we all have to do our part." Alyx, embarrassed, yells "Dad!" at him, as she did earlier in Black Mesa East, after which Eli retorts "Can you blame an old man for wanting grandkids?"
In Half-Life 2 and its expansions, Alyx is seen with her unique weapon, an automatic pistol, known simply as "Alyx's Gun" (from its entity name,
weapon_alyxgun). This gun is not available to Gordon, although it can be obtained via the console. However, late in Episode One, Alyx grabs a shotgun and wields it throughout the hospital. In both Half-Life 2 episodes, she also uses an Overwatch Sniper Rifle to protect Gordon while he has to scout an area alone, and provides support twice during Episode One with a Combine Emplacement Gun.
In Half-Life: Alyx, she borrows a handgun from Russell, as well as finding a one-handed shotgun, a Combine submachine gun and two types of grenades. Throughout the game, Alyx continually upgrades the handgun using Combine technology until it more closely resembles her gun from Half-Life 2, implied to be the same gun. Additionally, Alyx acquires a pair of gravity gloves capable of grabbing objects from a distance and tossing grenades back at enemies.
Behind the scenes
- Alyx's face and body were based on Jamil Giovanni Mullen, an American actress and television host. Mullen spent several days in a motion capture studio recording running, jumping, and combat animations, which were used as the starting point for Alyx's animation library.
- Actress Merle Dandridge voices Alyx. According to Valve's Bill Van Buren, she was chosen among the last five over more than one hundred actors auditioning for the part. The team wanted "someone with a beautiful voice, who could be charming, very feminine, and warmly intimate, but could then go into intense circumstances and be a strong, confident, and believable action character."
- "Alyx" is a very rare feminine variant of "Alex", the short form of "Alexander" / "Alexandra", which is from "Alexandros", "defender of men" in Greek. Being intended or not, it fits the character very well. "Vance" is an English surname meaning "dweller by a fen, marsh", derived from the Old English "fenn".
- A study found in Raising the Bar and named "I.A. Latham", simply referred to as "female protagonist", likely refers to a very early version of Alyx (being "protagonist" and not "antagonist"), where she was to wear leather straps and probably a breathing mask with a single "eye", recycled in the Combine Assassin. The outfit could be some sort of HEV Suit.
- In the early stages of production, Eli and Alyx Vance had no relation, and she was the daughter of Captain Vance, leader of the Conscripts. Therefore she was not half Asian/half African-American, but Caucasian.
- She had also a slightly different appearance: red hair (she still has streaks of red), a green jacket with a white fur collar and a blue-green bodysuit. It consists of her first known model, as seen in the playable Half-Life 2 Beta game files (only as its textures and a screenshot used in the E3 2003 video "Psyche"; the model used in the Half-Life 2 Beta is almost identical to the retail one), the first Half-Life 2 trailer, Raising the Bar, and several pre-release screenshots set in Kleiner's Lab. Late in the development process, the team agreed on the fact that she was not very different from other video game heroines, and they redesigned her whole appearance except the head in a very short time, based on sketches by Dhabih Eng. During several design meetings, the team considered giving her braces or glasses, along with making her more of a tinkering mechanic. In the end, the team ended up with an attractive young woman without being over the top like many female video game characters.
- Early concept art depicts her with a socket wrench that she could have probably used as a basic weapon, in the vein of the crowbar for Gordon or the pipe wrench for Shephard. It is however unknown if she is portrayed with it only for aesthetic reasons or if it actually was to be scripted, as no information is given about the picture. However it is the vein of the early concept of her being a tinkering mechanic, and her model still has sockets attached to the belt.
- In her playable Half-Life 2 Beta model, similar to the final one, her panties are red instead of purple.
- At one point of the game's development, Alyx and Skitch were to be first met at the start of the Air Exchange chapter, where Gordon was to crash with his train at a nearby depot. They were to be attacked by "tripods" and "Combine Elite".
- As seen on a board at Valve's seen in early 2004 where it is listed as a cut item, a love scene between Alyx and Gordon was at some point to be featured in Half-Life 2.
- Very early Alyx sound files can be found in the folder "\temp\alyx" in the playable Half-Life 2 Beta files (made by other actress than Merle Dandridge):
- Other sound files relate to the Skyscraper chapter, where she is wounded after the plane crash and asks Gordon to find her father, Captain Vance, in his headquarters near the city's inner gates.
- A sound file also mentions she was to bring Gordon to her place at some point during the game.
- Another sound file reveals that Eli was to explain to Gordon at Black Mesa East that after the Resonance Cascade he found Alyx alone with her mother's wedding ring in her hand, suggesting the jewel carried by Alyx was originally a ring instead of a necklace, and that Alyx does not remember anything about that day. While Eli still wears his wedding ring in the final game, no ring can be found in Alyx's model, and no reference to that is ever made.
- In the WC mappack maps, the Alyx's model appears often. It was used for measurements, lightning tests and placeholders (Odell's model also alternatively fills this role).
- As seen in the first Episode Two teaser released with Episode One, at the very start of the game Alyx was to be hanging to the twisted barrier of the partially collapsed train bridge (at that point all concrete), on the brink of falling in the canyon below, calling for Gordon, instead of safely being out of the train as seen in the final game. David Speyrer revealed she was to fall right after, thus being wounded differently than in the final game. He stated there were a lot of issues with that early sequence, the worst being that Alyx falling as a result of the train crash did not create any interesting tension between the player and the Hunter as an adversary. He added that testers mashed the Use key to try and figure out how to catch her before she falls, and then they go down below, see her unconscious and really want to help her, realizing there was nothing to do but wait for the Vortigaunt. Speyrer felt that the sequence they eventually created with the Hunter was much more effective, as the player knew very clearly that Gordon was trapped and immobile, and simply had to watch helplessly as the enemy punctured Alyx.
- Originally there were talks about an expansion pack featuring Alyx as a playable character (just prior to the release of Half-Life 2), however, this never came to pass and not much on the project has been talked about.
- Merle Dandridge revealed in an interview with Tyler McVicker from Valve News Network that she improvised Alyx's last line in Episode Two, "Don't leave me": the phrase slipped out during the recording sessions for the scene, which she believes was influenced by the climax of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, subconsciously connecting Alyx losing Eli to Belle losing the Beast.
- Unlike other games that feature extremely vulnerable mission-critical characters, Half-Life 2 gives Alyx the ability to absorb a large amount of damage before death (due to the fact that her health regenerates extremely rapidly). It is still possible for her to die during combat however, and at several points the player is required to protect her from taking damage. Her death will result in a black screen fade and failure message, then the game will reload. It takes five simultaneous Overwatch Sniper Rifle shots to kill her, indicating that she can absorb an extremely high amount of damage. Alyx can often successfully defeat several enemies at once without the player's assistance, but she is vulnerable to multiple enemies mobbing her at close range, or to individual Combine Soldiers equipped with shotguns.
- All games have unique messages when Alyx dies. For example: In Episode One, if she is killed, a message will say, "Alyx died." In Episode Two however, a message will say, "The Alyx Vance has died. Without her we cannot persevere." In Half-Life 2, the message is similar to Half-Life’s message: "Subject: Gordon Freeman. Status: terminated. Reason: Subject failed to preserve mission critical personnel." However, if Barney dies in Episode One after he boards the train (via cheats) the message will remain the same.
- Just before Alyx and Gordon meet with Barney, a rebel asks Alyx if she is Kleiner's daughter and she sarcastically claims that she is the daughter of Odessa Cubbage, mirroring somehow the early stages of Half-Life 2’s production when she was to be the daughter of another military man, Captain Vance.
- Unlike other games with NPCs that often engage in repetitive behaviors, Alyx Vance is programmed to engage in more context-sensitive behaviors. For example, when Alyx is in hand-to-hand combat; she and her enemy may preform a certain type of dynamic interaction where she would either struggle or succeed. While Alyx is fighting, she might say easter eggs that are unexpected and satisfying to the player.
- In the complete darkness areas of the Episode One chapter Lowlife, Alyx will protect her eyes when Gordon directs his flashlight directly at her face (it is also seen in Episode Two). Furthermore, as she cannot proceed in complete darkness without Gordon and his flashlight, she will call in fear when the player turns it off and suddenly moves away from her.
- At one point during Episode 1, Alyx will comment that "We really need to talk to Dr. Kleiner about getting a new battery for that flashlight.", referring to the fact that that flashlight is dependent on the same energy bar Gordon uses to sprint and breath underwater during both Half-Life 2 and Episode 1. In Episode 2, the flashlight has its own, separate energy bar, which both runs out more slowly and recharges more quickly than the original energy bar. This change can be interpreted as a response to Alyx's comment during Episode 1, even though they didn't actually reach Dr. Kleiner prior to this.
- Alyx is referred to in Overwatch announcements as the "Vance Subprime."
- When Alyx and Gordon first meet, she asks him "Doctor Freeman, I presume?", probably a nod to the famous quote "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?".
- In Dr. Kleiner's lab, on one of the walls, there is a crude image of Dr. Kleiner that Alyx drew when she was very young.
- With the exception of when she first meets Gordon in Half-Life 2, Alyx always refers to Gordon by his first name.
Half-Life 2: Episode One
Half-Life 2: Episode Two
List of appearances
- Half-Life 2 (First appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar
- Half-Life 2: Episode One
- Source Particle Benchmark (Game files only) (Non-canonical appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Episode Two
- Randolph the Red-Nosed Turret (Non-canonical appearance) (Mentioned only)
- Half-Life: Alyx
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Half-Life 2
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Half-Life 2: Episode One
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Half-Life 2: Episode Two
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar
- ↑ File:Alyxhead.png
- ↑ File:Ep2 outland 110029.jpg
- ↑ Half-Life
- ↑ http://www.behindthename.com/name/alyx
- ↑ http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Alexander
- ↑ http://surnames.behindthename.com/php/search.php?type=n&terms=vance
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Playable Half-Life 2 Beta files
- ↑ The Orange Box Dissected - with Valve on ComputerAndVideoGames.com
- ↑ We’re excited to unveil Half-Life: Alyx, our flagship VR game, this Thursday at 10am Pacific Time. on Valve's official Twitter account
- ↑ Tyler McVicker, Valve News Network. "An Interview with Alyx Vance - Merle Dandridge."