Doom VR Executive Producer Marty Stratton sheds light on Doom VR, how Bethesda are approaching the project, what VR hardware they’re targeting and whether it’ll ever see a full release.
After thrusting a glimpse of a modern VR technology into the public realm 4 years ago at E3 2012 there’s a certain irony in Bethesda’s flurry of VR activity at this year’s show. 4 years ago, John Carmack exhibited a modified Doom 3 BFG running on a prototype headset that would eventually evolve to become the Oculus Rift. At E3 2016 however, after what felt like a 4 year embargo on anything VR, Bethesda brought it’s big guns to the show to convince everyone they were “all in” on virtual reality.
Ignoring any alleged legal strife between Carmack (now Oculus CTO) and his former employers, it was good to see not only a VR version of seminal shooter Doom front and centre, but Fallout 4 too! It was clear that both virtual reality experiences were very early prototypes, but as E3 2016 closed, it wasn’t entirely clear where id was going with Doom VR. Was it a PR exercise? Would the demo be released? Will there ever be a full virtual reality version of Doom we can buy?
In an interview with Shacknews, speaking at Quakecon 2016, Game Director and Executive Producer at id Software Marty Stratton has shed a little light on some of these questions and more.
When questioned about fellow stablemates Bethesda and whether the Doom VR and Fallout 4 VR teams ever shared ideas on the projects, Stratton replies “Absolutely, there is a ton of collaboration. I can’t really go into the specifics of it, but it definitely is and has been a Bethesda initiative for a while now,” and finally “A lot of collaboration between the teams with the Fallout stuff and the Doom stuff. It’s been really nice.”
On the question of whether Doom VR would ever see the light of day as a fully-fledged product, Stratton is open about the project’s current status: “It is a kind of a public R&D project for us to an extent. To have VR, to take it to shows, show people the possibilities and the capabilities and get feedback to understand how they’re reacting to it. We made a lot of changes in what we did just between E3 and this,” clearly the development teams are iterating rapidly on the project – which is certainly a good sign.
As to whether that iteration would eventually lead to a final, purchasable product, Stratton was optimistic yet non-committal: “There is, I’m sure, a Doom product in there and we are kind of molding the clay right now as to what that becomes. I think the important thing is that we just don’t think of it as a Doom port to VR. That’s not the right way to go about it. It is about creating a Doom experience within VR that is made for VR.”
Finally, as both Doom VR and Fallout 4 VR were shown exclusively on the HTC Vive, what is id’s stance on VR platforms right now? “The way the technology is set up, we are fairly (platform) agnostic. We’ve been using the HTC Vive headsets for E3 and here, but we’re not really tied to anything in particular and I’m sure we will continue to look at all the possibilities as we move forward.”
I think it’s quite positive that Bethesda are finally publicly demonstrating their commitment to VR as a platform, but even better that, both the Doom and Fallout teams are seemingly approaching the R&D process collaboratively and openly gathering feedback wherever they can.
You can check out the full interview video above or checkout the full transcript over at Shacknews here, but here are some of the highlights.