Bethesda is currently home to some of the most popular game franchises in the industry including Fallout 4, which has been announced to get a full VR adaption according the their announcement at E3 2016. Todd Howard, Bethesda Game Studios executive producer, is one of the key essential pieces in making Fallout 4 VR and according to his interview with glixel, “Fallout is going great.” He iterates that there’s “A lot of work to be done,” but it’s due to making the whole game playable in virtual reality.
Interestingly, Bethesda’s parent company is Zenimax, which recently had a big lawsuit against Oculus for IP infringement. Zenimax was awarded $500 million from the jury for Oculus’s poor practice with non-disclosure agreements. According to Zenimax, they provided Oculus with their core VR technology for the Rift headset. So, in essence, Bethesda has access to some of the most top-notch VR IPs and patents available today to assist them with the creation of Fallout 4 VR.
Another exciting bit of information from the interview with Todd Howard was that Bethesda is incorporating V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting) into Fallout 4 VR. “The Pip-Boy is on your wrist and we’ve been able to present so that it works the way you expect. You look and there it is. The fact that the gunplay is a bit slower than in a lot of games has certainly helped us but we have V.A.T.S., so you can pause or slow down the world.” V.A.T.S. allows users to freeze a moments time during combat which allows you to target specific areas on enemies before unfreezing to watch the action play out. Howard mentions that, “V.A.T.S. in VR is awesome.”
But there are hurdles to getting such a big AAA game like Fallout 4 into virtual reality. First is the movement portion. A lot VR games use techniques such as teleportation to move about in a virtual world. Howard states in the interview, “Locomotion is definitely the hard part, I will admit. Given the size of the world and the amount that you’re moving in Fallout 4 that part is tricky because you’re doing it a lot. Right now we’re doing the teleport warp thing and that’s fine, but we’re experimenting with a few others.”
Some in the VR community aren’t the biggest fans of teleportation in games and Howard addresses this issue as well. “Our plan is to ship with as many as we can, because it’s different for everybody. There are a lot of indie developers and students that are working on prototypes and thinking about how to move in VR and so we’re looking at a lot of those.” This allows users to access multiple ways of moving about in the Fallout 4 VR world.
While there was no mention of a release date, we’ll be hearing from Bethesda soon in regards to updates and progress reports for Fallout 4 VR. The interesting portion will be if Fallout 4 VR will make it onto the Rift headset with the whole fiasco of the lawsuit between Zenimax and Oculus. Fallout 4 VR just might be the first true AAA game to hit the market in the virtual reality industry.