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This article is about the hermit Vortigaunt. For the Aperture Science Personality Construct under the witness protection program, see Grady.

Function(s) / Belongings
  • Green electrical attack
  • Claws
  • Gravity manipulation


Eye color


Chronological and political information

Combine occupation



Game information
Voiced by

Tony Todd


Karen Prell (animation)[1]

"I have a brain injury. My brain is injured! Ow."
― Gary[src]

Gary[2][3] is an eccentric Vortigaunt and former captive of the Combine who appears in Half-Life: Alyx.



Gary is a former prisoner of the Combine, bearing numerous scars and has the Combine insignia "CP" stamped on his chest, along with remnants of restraints on his arms and head from his captivity. He was freed or escaped under unclear circumstances. During his enslavement, he sustained a "brain injury" when the Combine drilled into his brain, severing his connection to the Vortessence, isolating him from other Vortigaunts, and impairing his perception of time.

At some point, Gary constructed his own abode near the maintenance rooms of the Metro Area station under City 17.


Half-Life: Alyx[edit]

Using his powers to explain the situation to Alyx.

While on her mission to rescue her father, Eli Vance, in the Quarantine Zone, Alyx Vance encounters strange occurrences in a canal. She discovers various Headcrab traps, pieces of floating cardboard charged with green electric energy, and cryptic murals on the walls that seem to depict past and future events. These clues lead her to the hideout of Gary, a reclusive Vortigaunt who survives by trapping and cooking Headcrabs.

Upon hearing Eli's name, Gary takes Alyx to a secluded part of his hideout and solemnly warns her of her father's possible death or doomed fate, stressing that she cannot alter these events alone. He then inspires her to embark on a mission to free the Vortigaunts imprisoned in prisoner pods by the Combine and directs her towards the Northern Star. Before she departs, Gary gives her a dead Headcrab, proclaiming it as "sustenance."

Later, at Fairview Junction, Gary dramatically saves Eli from falling into a pit by using his powers to levitate him to safety. Before leaving with Eli for Russell's lab, Gary reiterates to Alyx the importance of following the "Northern Star" for guidance.


Alyx Vance[edit]

Initially a stranger, Gary quickly becomes a crucial figure in Alyx's journey. He provides her with vital information and guidance, warning her of the potential fate of her father, Eli Vance, and encouraging her to take action to save the Vortigaunts and pursue her mission. Despite the brief nature of their encounters, Gary's influence on Alyx is significant, as he not only aids her physically by saving Eli but also plays a key role in directing her path and motivating her to continue her quest against the Combine forces.

Eli Vance[edit]

While Gary and Eli do not interact extensively, Gary plays a pivotal role in Eli's fate. He saves Eli from a potentially fatal fall at Fairview Junction, showcasing a protective and possibly foresighted aspect of his character. Although their direct interactions are minimal, Gary's actions toward Eli are crucial, demonstrating his commitment to aiding the Vance family and opposing the Combine.

Related Achievements[edit]

Half-Life: Alyx
Achievement Sustenance.jpg Sustenance
Receive a tasty treat.

Behind the scenes[edit]

The Vortigaunt consumption of headcrabs is introduced in Half-Life 2, when Gordon gets a glimpse of Vortigaunt chefs working in the kitchen of Black Mesa East. It can also be observed earlier in the den of the Singing Vortigaunt.

The idea of a Vortigaunt who had been forcibly severed from the Vortessence was conceived by the Half-Life: Alyx story cabal early in development. In an early version of the meeting with Gary, Alyx would be sent by Laszlo (the early name for Russell) to find a Vortigaunt who had a message for her. She discovered that Gary was near death and squeezed 'nectar' from several Headcrab hearts into his mouth to give him sustenance. This sequence was observed in a build dated October 15, 2018, but the development team eventually decided from playtesting feedback that the repetitive interactions and Gary's low energy slowed the flow of the scene, which led them to add more humor and energy to his character and reduce the number of interactions required to progress. To compensate for these reductions, the team added more optional interactions in his surrounding environment instead.[3]

Although his name is neither said in-game by Alyx nor the Vortigaunt himself, the game files confirm the Vortigaunt's name as "Gary", as seen in multiple commands. The name was confirmed as his official name in The Final Hours of Half-Life: Alyx.

Some Half-Life: Alyx team members referred to the sequence in Gary's hideout as the "Swedish Chef Vort Sequence" after the Muppet of the same name.[3] This may be because Karen Prell, a Valve animator who works as a puppeteer for the Muppets, did most of the animations for Gary.


Half-Life: Alyx[edit]





List of appearances[edit]

Combine OverWiki has a list of quotes for Gary.

Main games[edit]



  1. Twitter favicon.png Matt Scott on Twitter
  2. Half-Life: Alyx game files, script name teleport_gary_introductions and animation name @gary_scratch_arm
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Final Hours of Half-Life: Alyx, Chapter 8: Sea Otters and Soapboxes