Hunt Down the Freeman is a mod that many of you have probably not heard of. Back in 2018, it was a fan-made mod that took the Half-Life universe along some new storylines and went down a very strange path. The game was eventually expanded into a full release, meeting lukewarm reception for a handful of reasons. As of today though, the developer behind the original has said they are working on a full sequel to the 2018 game. The announcement was made by developer Royal Radius Entertainment earlier today, which also teased the first images of the game. And did I mention that it’s a VR game?
Let’s talk about that first game for a bit in case you need a refresher. Being that it was a fan project, it obviously didn’t have the backing or direct permission of Valve to be released using their assets. This fact alone led many to start digging into the game. And after a fair bit of sleuthing, it was alleged that the developer of Hunt Down the Freeman used stolen assets taken from other modders without permission. This is as close to PC modding can come as a cardinal sin internally, and many take the issue very seriously. This issue led to many accusing the developer outright of theft of the assets, an accusation the developer refuted when later interviewed by PC Gamer.
Other sticking points included the price point, which for the quality of Hunt Down the Freeman was a steep $25. The playerbase were also pretty harsh about the quality of the experience, criticizing bugs and other issues. All in all, the original game didn’t do too well. Jim Sterling called it a “bargain basement asset flip” that was “one of the more insulting games I’ve played in my life.”
Who knows, maybe jumping to VR is exactly what the game series needs. With the bolstering of experience and a small following, maybe the developer can undo some past mistakes and make right by the fans of the wider property. There are a lot of hurdles to jump through when working with a VR title, and having compelling and simple gameplay is a must. It remains to be seen if the company can pull it off.
And with the impending launch of Half-Life Alyx, Valve has their own VR offering coming to the table, making it all the more important that Royal Radius Entertainment nail the initial impression this time around. If they can somehow manage to get the blending of Half-Life, action and stealth right in VR, I will be seriously impressed.