“Weren’t expecting that were you?” said Pete Hines, Bethesda’s VP of Marketing, after revealing that an incarnation of Fallout 4 (2015) and Doom (2016) are in development for virtual reality on the HTC Vive.

Hines, on stage at Bethesda’s E3 2016 press conference, told the audience,”we want to give you a glimpse into where we’re headed with VR where you can expect us to remain a leader,” and revealed that playable VR versions of the Fallout 4 and Doom would be shown at the company’s BE3 game showcase following the press conference.

While Bethesda parent company Zenimax is in ongoing legal action with Oculus over work done by CTO John Carmack who was formerly employed by id Software (another Zenimax-owned company, with games published by Bethesda), Hines alluded to that early work and positioned the story to credit Bethesda as an early pioneer in VR.

Pete Hines on stage at E3 2016 | Photo courtesy Bethesda
Pete Hines on stage at E3 2016 | Photo courtesy Bethesda

“Now the first time anyone experienced modern VR was at E3 2012, and if you were there and lucky enough you may remember getting to play Doom 3 BFG in our booth. Now at the time we’d solved some of the toughest technology challenges posed by VR and people were amazed,” Hines said on stage. “Since then we’ve quietly continued our pioneering work in VR and tonight we want you to see and experience what you feel when you put on a headset and play the latest triple-A games in the industry.”

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That’s when Hines revealed that Fallout 4 be coming to the HTC Vive in 2017.

“…we think that the greatest promise of VR is its ability to immerse players completely into virtual worlds, and that the best games for that experience will be first-person open-world RPGs. So we have Fallout 4 for you to play,” he said. “Wander the Wasteland, check out the iconic Red Rocket, try combat; I’m telling you, with a Pip-Boy on your arm, and dog by your side, a gun in your hand, it’s pretty incredible.”

fallout-4-vr-htc-vive-virtual-reality
The Red Rocket is one of the locations players will be able to visit in Fallout 4 for VR

In addition to Fallout 4 coming to the HTC Vive, Bethesda has also announced a Doom VR experience. While details are light, it sounds like the Doom VR experience will be more of a tech demo than a fully realized VR version of the game. In the Doom VR experience, Hines says “you can take a virtual tour of Hell and get a totally unique look at the very latest in graphics and true next-gen rendering from our idTech 6 engine.”

Among other suggestions that the company aims to take VR seriously and make it a major part of their business & development strategy, Hines went so far as to reveal a new version of the Bethesda logo with the letters ‘VR’ appended to it, which was also touted above the company’s VR demo stations at their BE3 event.

“…this is a just the beginning of Bethesda’s future in virtual reality,” the company writes on their official blog.

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  • Bob

    This is good initiative from Bethesda to cement their role in the VR industry however if their plan is to port these games into VR then that may be a big mistake. They are not designed for virtual reality and the hardware does not yet exist to support locomotion with these type of games without causing motion sickness through the use of the Vive controllers, and that is not including the need to purchase a separate $300 omni-directional treadmill which is, still as of yet, a complete waste of time. This is a definitely a cash-grab from Bethesda although their portfolio says otherwise and hopefully it isn’t the former.

    • VR Cat

      This is a great initiative from Bethesda. Porting Fallout 4 to VR is a wise decision. The hardware does exist to support locomotion with these types of games without simulator sickness – the Virtuix Omni, which has turned out to be well worth the wait. Bethesda is doing the right thing, giving their customers the opportunity to choose to play their games with the latest and greatest hardware. Bethesda, I salute you.

      • Sam Illingworth

        Yeah, teleportation should be OK, or just step-based rather than fluid motion.

        • Bob

          Teleportation or the “Blink” method is the only solution to avoid motion-sickness that comes pre-packaged with the HTC Vive without the need to purchase and install additional hardware which, suffice to say, is still not at a satisfactory level for inducing a great sense of presence.

          • Sam Illingworth

            Yeah, but it doesn’t have to be point and click teleportation. It can be “press forward to teleport one step forward”, just like they already have “press left to turn 22.5 degrees left”.

          • Bob

            Mass market VR is still at the exploratory level so it’s almost certain that better methods will be conceived in the near future but for now the teleport method is the most effective but “crude” way to experience large 3D worlds infinitely in all directions although it doesn’t do a game such as Fallout justice. It’s more of a “tacked-on” experience as opposed to something being designed and implemented entirely for VR.

          • Sam Illingworth

            Yes, I’m familiar with teleportation like in Vanishing Realms and Budget Cuts, but I haven’t tried the system I described yet, so I can’t say which is better.

          • VR Cat

            It’s a good idea, but it has been tried and suffers from being uncomfortable on the eye, both as a spectator and as a participant. Fluid motion is far better and can make the difference between whether or not you want to go on playing that game. Check out this video – the method you describe is called ‘cloudstep’: https://youtu.be/vVVdoquKhO8?t=2m55s

          • Sam Illingworth

            I’d like to give that a try, I think it looks quite good. Is there a demo I can download for Vive?

          • VR Cat

            I don’t know, sorry. I think Technolust might have it. Also, Vive home has an implementation of dash which is not dissimilar from cloudstep. Slightly less jerky as it doesn’t skip the intervening frames (just rushes through quickly), so you could try that to get a feel for it if you haven’t already. Here’s a vid of it in action: https://youtu.be/01GcQeztbko?t=1m13s

          • Sam Illingworth

            Isn’t that just teleporting?

          • VR Cat

            It’s similar. It’s not skipping the intervening steps, but rushing through them so quickly that you don’t have time to get sick, or that’s the theory. It’s all variation on a theme of changing position without being as aware of the movement between positions, i.e. the ‘transition’. If that movement doesn’t correlate with the vesitbular and proprioceptive sense of your body and head accelerating and moving through space, it can make you feel sick. It’s better just to have a motion platform that lets you have that vestibular and proprioceptive sense without walking into a wall or falling over. Anything else is a compromise too far IMO, but I’m all in favour of options.

          • DiGiCT Ltd

            You also should mention that the vive portal warns you for motion sickness by enabling this feature, as the default is set to teleport.

          • DiGiCT Ltd

            This looks really bad, its the same result you have with a vga card that cant keep up the rendering or network lag.
            It might be ok for a solo player which can handle it, but for multiplayer its really going to be worse.

          • VR Cat

            It’s assumed that if you’re purchasing an HTC Vive, you have also purchased a VR ready gaming PC. Content is obviously not going to work satisfactorily without one. PCs often don’t come with a keyboard, but that doesn’t stop developers making games that need one – they expect you to go out and buy a keyboard if you want to play their game. That’s a different proposition to a motion platform admittedly, but by the same principle I think it should also be assumed that if you’re hoping to play open world games, that you will need to also purchase a motion platform. A developer should not be dissuaded from making open world games just because not everyone has one. Not everyone has an HTC Vive yet, but Bethesda have seen where the industry is going and they are acting accordingly.

      • Bob

        “Bethesda is doing the right thing, giving their customers the opportunity to choose to play their games with the latest and greatest hardware”

        Indeed if you’re willing to spend and setup additional equipment for the “full experience” which of course isn’t a problem for the majority of HTC Vive owners I would assume.

  • OhYeah!

    Hell yes, I am all for this move!

  • Richard Lee

    I think this means that I will be getting some exercise while I play Fallout for my 22 hours a week!! My neck will be in great shape.

  • Joshua Peck

    Another step in the right direction for VR to continue thriving!