Bethesda announced The Elder Scrolls: Blades back at E3 2018, promising that the free-to-play title would support VR headsets all the way from standalone to high-end PC. It’s been nearly two years since that announcement, but Bethesda has “no update” on the VR version of the game.

Relative to other major gaming studios, Bethesda has actually embraced VR quite substantially. The studio has already released two VR ports, Skyrim VR (2017)Fallout 4 VR (2017), two original VR titles, Doom VFR (2017) & Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot (2019), and a VR DLC, Prey: Typhon Hunter (2018).

'Skyrim VR' vs. 'Fallout 4 VR' – The Best Bethesda RPG in VR

Since those titles, the only other Bethesda game officially in the works with VR support was The Elder Scrolls: Blades, which was purportedly being developed as a mobile-first game that would eventually expand to a range of platforms including console, PC, mobile VR and PC VR, with cross-play between them.

Elder Scrolls: Blades saw a beta release on iOS and Android in March 2019, and then a full release in May 2019. Bethesda has kinda-sorta been referring to the game as being in ‘Early Access’ though doesn’t note that in any of the app store descriptions or in the game’s latest marketing.

It’s been nearly two years since the initial announcement of Blades and its eventual VR support; we reached out to Bethesda to ask if they would offer a status update on Blades VR. A spokesperson told us “we don’t have any updates to share.”

It’s unclear if VR support for the game has been cancelled outright or if it’s just taking far longer than expected.

Last month, Bethesda announced that Blades is coming to Nintendo Switch this Spring, noting that the game would “take advantage of the [Switch’s motion controllers] for an immersive new way to play.” It’s possible that this is the first glimpse of the motion-based mechanics that would eventually be expanded upon in VR, but it could just as well be the scraps of development from a canned VR version of the game.

Exactly how Blades’ mechanics would translate to VR in a meaningful way has been unclear from the start. The free-to-play title is built around micro-transactions and time-gated content with lots of menu-driven management—not the sort of thing we’ve seen successfully executed in VR to date.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • mirak

    I want Doom 2016 and eternal fully with VR support.

    • DanDei

      Have you actually played Doom Eternal?
      That thing is WAY too fast for VR and would be a motion sickness puke fest like we have never seen.

      • James Cobalt

        I’ll get the tarp!

      • Alextended

        There are fast paced VR games, like HoVRboard and Jet Island, and advanced users jump around and do crazy moves even more in games like Sairento than one does when playing Eternal on PC. It’s fine, it’s not like we’d force you to play it and get sick, other people just don’t get sick.

      • Go play Series Sam VR or Doom BFG VR. Or Quake VR.

        Your stomach may not be ready, but mine is.

        Bring on the Eternal VR mod.

      • Caven

        Doom VFR didn’t have that problem.

      • 3872Orcs

        It’s not like everyone is susceptible to motion sickness in VR. I can handle fast stuff just fine as long as I’m not playing on Quest with it’s 72hz refresh rate. I’m totally fine on headsets with 90hz and upwards.

      • DanDei

        Just to clarify: I have played pretty much all the intense VR games and personally had no problems with any of them (only motion sickness ever came from the pretty slow but horribly ported Ethan Carter that just felt weir). However Doom Eternal is an entirely different beast in my opinion. Doom VFR was tailored to VR movement. But Eternal has tons of double jumps, swinging, super fast turning. It is a frenzy of super quick movement. It wouldn’t translate well to VR, same as Portal wouldn’t make a good VR title.

        • Jukka Muhonen

          If you played sairento, those moves are not awful, at sairento you run at walls, do double jumps and blackflips.

        • Master E

          Usually, If a game is well done, motion sickness is way less likely.

          The only thing that’s got me a little headspun was a couple poorly made demo games and an intense lengthy dog fight in Eve Valkyrie.

          Both demo games had erratic up and down movements like going over a bumpy road. Which, for me at least, didn’t sit well.

          I bet there’s still a lot to figure out on both the user and developer side as to what makes people ill in VR from certain colors, to frame rates, to movements, to sounds…

          For me if I turn my head a little when turning in a game it feels better than just turning and looking that direction with my eyes. In other words having my body flow with the movement a bit more feels more natural and less edgy. Could be the way people play games in VR too. Apparently, if proprioception is off, which a virtual world can easily do, the body thinks it’s poisoned and the natural reaction is to get sick.

      • Adrian Meredith

        Considering one of the main movements is essentially shift teleport that’s already quite vr friendly. As for double jumps, people have shown things like spider Man locomotion to work fine so I think they could make it work. You are correct though that they would need to slow it down somewhat. However, a manual motion controlled glory kill would be awesome

  • VR is not missing out

    …by not getting this :3

  • blue5peed

    Bethesda needs to dedicate all resources on not Fu*king up Elder Scrolls 6. I don’t want them to go the way Bio-ware did with Mass Effect Andromeda and Anthem. How the mighty have fallen.

    • DanDei

      Bethesda never made a single game that anywhere near polished. There is some raw brilliance in some of them but it always takes a couple of month for modding fans to make it shine. They are just lucky that they early on decided to enable much. Without that community they would be nothing near as successfull.

      • JakeDunnegan

        While modding has certainly distinguished Skyrim especially, and to a lesser effect, Fallout 4, trying to say that their company was essentially made by modders just doesn’t hold up.

        First, there was very little modding for Bethesda games before Skyrim. Yet, Oblivion, Morrowind, and Fallout 3 were all highly successful games. Successful enough to buy the Fallout franchise outright.

        Second, Skyrim has a long history. Skyrim won Game of the Year awards which had nothing to do with modding. It broke it’s own records early in the first year for number of players on Steam playing it (over 5M concurrently). Mods helped with the longevity of the game, and yes, people are still buying it. But it also made more money on PS4, PS3, Xbox and XBox 1 than it did on PC. (As of 2016, 59% of Skyrim sales were on the Xbox 360 29% of the sales were on the PS3- which had no modding capability at all at that time…only 14% of the sales were on the PC)

        It also won best VR game of the year for 2018 at the Golden Joystick (again, having little to do with mods, since they are back end re-engineered and hardly an easy thing to configure…)

        Skyrim is on many lists as one of the greatest games of all time (and over 200 game of the year awards). Again, not discounting the modding community, but you’re acting like it was pure luck that they allowed modding, and if not for that, they’d be “nowhere near as successful” which is pattently false.

        If you want to say that “Skyrim made Bethesda” you would be closer to the truth. Of course, Fallout 3, New Vegas (and yes, I feel like Obsidian should have made more on that, but anyway…) and Fallout 4 were all very successful. Even Fallout Shelter made them crazy money for what was basically a marketing gimmick. And, you are however, correct in one area – their games tend to be buggy, though I would say that due to their ambitious nature.

        Oh, and as far as Blades goes – it’s taken them a long time to even make it somewhat worth playing. As it stands, I see no reason (with Skyrim already in VR) to bother with a Blades VR version.

        • Cless

          This is just straight up lying

          First, there was very little modding for Bethesda games before Skyrim. Yet, Oblivion, Morrowind, and Fallout 3 were all highly successful games.

          In what insane plane of existence do you live in where Oblivion, Morrowind and Fallout 3 qualify as games with “very little modding”? They have literally thousands of mods each and most of them where the most mod active games of their generations, and Morrowind and Oblvion came packed with a modding tool just to begin with.

          There is a reason they released a modding tool with the game (since Morrowind if I’m not mistaken), it created the community that spread the word of the game around, the community that made them get where they are today. This has definitely impacted their future success and in no small way, so much so that modding is a part of their DNA.

          If Bethesda are anywhere near where they are today is definitely because of modding.

          • aasdfa

            you couldnt mod on consoles and their games sold well there….

          • JakeDunnegan

            You’re right insofar as modding existed on those games, I should have clarified that I was talking about consoles. So, no, I wasn’t lying.

            Did you read my whole post? I went on to mention the sales stats and how the PC versions were a relatively small fraction of the sales of those games at 14%.

            So, yeah, modding helped their games, but to pretend that “modders made Bethesda” is just B.S.

  • I had even forgot about this…

  • MeowMix

    At this point I’d rather have FO76 VR support.
    The new Wastelanders update is pretty good; FO76 plays more similar to FO4 now. And I believe the devs that did FO76 (Bethesda-Austin) also did FO4VR

  • JakeDunnegan

    Having played a fair bit of Blades – I don’t see why they’d even bother with a VR port. They already have Skyrim on VR, and the content that I’ve seen is very generic and could just as easily be considered “non-canon”.

    The graphics quality is great for a phone. No idea why anyone would want to play it on anything else, however.

  • Jim P

    Atomic Heart is what I want in VR

    • Bumpy

      +1 Do want.

  • Master E

    Been waiting for this in VR this whole time…. I think the arena and some good questing updates or coop would be great in VR. I’d be bummed if it didn’t get a VR option. It seems like a lot of people don’t care, but it looks like an easier VR port than most games. I say go for it!

    This ways supposed to be entirely cross platform from phone to desktop to VR HMD.

  • Zee

    With Covid 19, VR Sets are selling out faster than stores can shelf them! Its the only Virus Free way to leave your house right now….

  • Bethesda still hates Oculus. So even if this still gets released slim change it will be Oculus supported.