Nzyme32 from resetera noted that Valve added a complimentary package which contains an unknown app (AppID 546560) to Valve Index related packages. In this post we'll delve into some of the history this app has.
SteamVR Takehome Test
Back in December 2018 we noticed that Valve added app 546560 to a "steamvrtakehometest.exe" key inside of the Steam client app that lists apps that were possibly used in an installer used for a Valve Index take-home test.
Shortly after the above change, we spotted it and a depot for it being added to the Steam Master package. It being in this package implies it is a Valve-made product as most of the other products in the package are. It is however worth noting that StressLevelZero's BONEWORKS was also in the Steam Master package from December 2018 through March 2019 so it is not always just Valve products.
Back in November 2018, UploadVR reported that Valve was working on a VR headset (which ended up being the Valve Index), in the article they also mentioned that they heard that the headset would be bundled with a "Half-Life based VR game that could be a prequel". While Valve didn't mention a game would be bundled with the Valve Index when it was announced, it feels highly likely UploadVR's source was referring to what we now know to be Half-Life: Alyx.
Valve Index packages
The complimentary package with app 546560 was added to the following Valve Index related packages on November 20th 2019:
It appears that this package was not yet granted to current owners of the Valve Index/any of the above packages, whether or not it will be automatically granted when it is published at a later date remains to be seen.
Update (Nov 21 15:00 UTC): The package with app 546560 is granted to people who buy any of the above packages as of today, but no information about the app itself is available at the time of writing. We don't know if Valve is planning on adding it retroactively in the future for people who already bought one of the above packages, but it currently does not seem to be the case.
Update (Nov 22 8:40 UTC): Users who bought Valve Index (Controllers) previously now have Half-Life: Alyx in their library!
Tyler McVicker reported on the take-home test/Steam Master news at the time and speculated that the app in question was HLVR. Together with UploadVR being told a HL game would be bundled with the Index as well as app 546560 now apparently being included with the Valve Index, it is a fair guess to say that Tyler guessed it correctly and this app might indeed be Half-Life: Alyx.
Update (Nov 21 17:35 UTC): The app has basic information and is indeed Half-Life: Alyx!
Valve, the creators of Half-Life and the Steam platform, today announced Half-Life: Alyx, a new, full-length virtual reality entry in the Half-Life series. Slated for release on Steam in March 2020, the title will be compatible with all PC-based VR headsets in March 2020.
Set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2, Alyx Vance and her father Eli secretly mount the resistance to the brutal occupation of Earth by a mysterious alien race known as The Combine. As Alyx, players take the fight to the Combine to save the future of humanity.
Half-Life: Alyx was designed from the ground up for Virtual Reality and features all of the hallmarks of a classic Half-Life game: world exploration, puzzle solving, visceral combat, and an intricately woven story that connects it all with the characters iconic to the Half-Life universe.
"Everyone at Valve is excited to be returning to the world of Half-Life", says Valve founder Gabe Newell. "VR has energized us. We've invested a lot of ourselves in the technology. But we're also game developers at heart, and to be devoting ourselves to a VR game this ambitious is just as exciting. For that to come in the form of Half-Life feels like the culmination of a lot things we care a lot about: truly great games, cutting edge technology, and open platforms. We can't wait for people to experience this."
Half-Life: Alyx is powered by SteamVR on Valve's Source 2 engine, and can be played on Steam with all PC-based VR headsets.
Pre-purchase now for $59.99 (US). Free for owners of the Valve Index VR headset.
Learn more and watch the trailer here: https://www.half-life.com