What is the built-in VR option in Half-Life 2 Episode 2?

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I decided to go back and play Episode 2 because it’s been 5+ years since I last did so and noticed in the options there is a VR mode. I do happen to also have a headset but for the life of me I could not get it to work. The game asks you to restart the game. When you do, the main title screen has an option to enable VR mode. When this is clicked it turns on Steam VR and changes to the split view with one screen per eye on my desktop but nothing displays in the headset + no tracking.

I tried having SteamVR open before launching the game and it just launches into the virtual theatre like all other 2D games. I tried disabling this for Episode 2 and then nothing appears in the headset and tracking does not occur on the desktop viewport.

Using a Vive if it matters. I have no mods installed. I suspect this may have been some old semi-experimental feature. Part of me had hoped it was some kind of secret update released today because I cannot find any mention of this feature out in the wild but I’m not getting my hopes up. If anything I presume it’s a seated think to play the game with head tracking or something rather primitive – assuming one can get this particular feature working.

Edit: Answered below. /thread!

submitted by /u/forsayken
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