The Real-Life Locations of Half-Life: Alyx (Sofia, Bulgaria)

April 13, 2020

Few people in the gaming industry, be it developers or consumers, haven't heard of Half-Life. Valve's first-person shooter franchise has achieved world-wide success, receiving critical acclaim for its graphics, realistic gameplay, and seamless narrative.

Half-Life (up) vs. Bourgas (down)

For Bulgarians, however, the games do not just tell the story of the rebel Mr. Freeman. They are a source of pride in a most unlikely way - City 17 looks like home.

Viktor Antonov, born in 1972 in Sofia, Bulgaria, has become well known for his work as Art Director on Half-Life 2 (2004). As such, he used real-life locations from Bulgaria's Sofia and Bourgas when creating City 17, where most of Half-Life 2: Episode One takes place.

And despite Viktor having left the Valve team (now working at Bethesda), the trend and visuals have persevered into Half-Life's newest installation, Alyx!

Redditor u/dwartbg1 has been busy digging up comparisons between Half-Life locations and their real-life inspirations, with some of them being straight up copies.

Check out some of our favorite examples between Half-Life (left) and real life (right) below:

Investors in QuarkXR Inc. are New Vision 3 Fund and Vitosha Venture Partners Fund I KD, which are co-financed by the European Structural and Investment Funds under the Operational Programme for Innovation and Competitiveness 2014-2020 managed by the Fund of Funds in Bulgaria