Created in three weeks in collaboration with Jaycie Ewald for the Map Labs "Companion Piece 2" competition in March 2020, in which it won third place.
This is easily one of my personal favourite submissions to a Map Labs competition. We took a concept and a character from the then-unreleased Half-Life: Alyx (HLA), and tried our best to create a map that utilised both of those elements.
The original concept that we took from HLA and used in the map multiple times was the existence and visual appearance of an underground subway system in City 17, something which was not present in any games prior. In order to bring our interpretation to life, I created a small palette of custom materials in Substance Designer, taking strong inspiration from what I was able to see in pre-release screenshots and videos.
For the player companion required for the competition, we took Russell from HLA, wrote a bunch of custom dialogue and had someone we know put on their best fake kiwi accent to bring him to life. Throughout the level, Russell speaks to the player over a radio and comments on enemies, details in the environment, and situations the player may find themselves in.
This is a great map! Tight level design, great visuals, fun little narrative - it's a whole package. — Chris Weyland, Map Labs