Halo Reach (2010), the final Halo game from the series’ original developer, Bungie, launched on PC in December, and could now wind up with a VR support through an unofficial mod. Zack “Nibre” Fannon, the creator of the Alien: Isolation VR mod, is now working on ‘ReclaimerVR’, a mod to add VR support to Halo Reach.

Update (January 27th, 2020): ReclaimerVR creator Zack “Nibre” Fannon shared more progress on his Halo Reach VR mod after the release of Halo Reach on PC last month. A video posted to twitter shows full 6DOF weapon control with VR motion controllers.

While Fannon had previously shared a teaser video showing experimental headtracking in Halo Reach, he’s now signaling more clearly that he intends to bring the mod to a release-ready state under the name ‘ReclaimerVR’.

Fannon was profiled recently by 343 Industries, the developer now in charge of the Halo franchise, where he said his goal is to add VR support to all Halo games released on PC under the Master Chief Collection. That’s an ambitious goal—considering MCC includes Halo 1–4, as well as Reach and ODST—but Fannon has more than proven his skills with his ‘MotherVR’ mod for Alien: Isolation.

Interestingly, while Fannon had first dreamed of playing a Halo game in VR well before he created the Alien: Isolation mod, he says the experience of creating that mod was instrumental in being able to bring VR to Halo Reach.

“If I could expand my programming chops by getting [Alien: Isolation] working in VR again, without the game’s source code, could that somehow help me on my quest towards getting Halo working in VR? Long story short, it turns out that it honestly did. Reverse engineering a game from absolute scratch helped me see the Halo games in a new light when I’d come back to them, and revisiting MotherVR again afterward really helped me push my understanding of code at an assembly level further and further.

The original article—which talks about Fannon’s early teases of the ‘ReclaimerVR’ mod and the background of the Alien: Isolation mod—continues below.

As a massively popular franchise, calls for a Halo VR game have been heard plenty over the years, but with the latest incarnation of the games stuck on Xbox, Halo has still not gotten the VR treatment (unless you count that tease which Microsoft never followed up on).

With Halo Reach making the leap to PC on December 3rd, however, we just might get a taste of a full Halo game on modern VR headsets, albeit unofficially.

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Zack “Nibre” Fannon, creator of the Alien: Isolation VR mod and self-described “Halo addict,” today posted clips on Twitter showing they were experimenting with adding some VR functionality to Halo Reach.

Apparently working with a version of the game from public beta tests earlier this year, the clips show they have managed to bring rotational and positional tracking from the Rift into Halo Reach. This is a minor (but essential) achievement compared with the complexity of getting the game to render with proper distortion and stereoscopy. If it were anyone else we might just say “neat,” and move along with our day, but Nibre’s work with Alien: Isolation shows they may have the skills to deliver a fully functional Halo Reach VR mod.

Prior to its 2014 launch, Alien: Isolation was briefly demoed with a VR mode running on the second Rift development kit (DK2). It proved to be a terrifying experience, though with only tens of thousands of Rift DK2s out in the wild, the developers of the game didn’t bother to implement the VR mode for the launch of the game. It turns out though that the game’s files shipped with the VR mode hidden, and some intrepid folks figured out how to activate it so they could play the game on the DK2.

But between the DK2 and the launch of the consumer Rift in 2016, the Oculus SDK (which interfaces with the game to make it work inside the headset) changed drastically, meaning that the hidden Alien: Isolation VR mode wasn’t compatible with the consumer Rift.

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But that didn’t stop people from clamoring to play the game in VR. Their desire spawned multiple petitions to try to get publisher Sega to update the game with modern VR support. Despite one petition with more than 2,500 signatures, the game’s VR mode remained outdated and unplayable with the consumer Rift headset.

That’s when Nibre decided to take action into their own hands and released the so-called ‘MotherVR’ mod which not only enabled VR support but also improved upon the original implementation, bringing it in line with a more modern application of VR comfort design and even adding support for VR controllers.

As for Halo Reach in VR, Nibre hasn’t committed to creating a full blown mod just yet, but they are clearly experimenting. “Now that [Halo Reach] is finally coming to PC, it opens a lot of doors…,” they teased on Twitter.

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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."
  • Yaniv Ben David

    Looks awesome

  • The Bard

    Microsoft teased Halo VR with VR demo in Microsoft store, but then does nothing about it. Disappointing company and management.

    • gothicvillas

      Micro$ are stuck in dark ages. Havent been innovating for a long time.

      • bud01

        I was about to post.. yeah they most likely only spend more than the GDP of one or several small nation states (combined) on R&D to not only push forward humanity in one or two ways but several.. but lets see those numbers..

        Google keyword “microsoft 2019 research budget”

        Microsoft’s research and development expenditure amounted to around 16.9 billion U.S. dollars in its 2019 fiscal year, a record high. Microsoft ranks the second among software and computer service companies worldwide in terms of R&D spend, behind only Google’s parent company Alphabet.

        Cant be correct?
        Microsoft’s expenditure on research and development from 2002 to 2019 (in million U.S. dollars)

        Cant be correct?

        “Micro$ are stuck in dark ages. Havent been innovating for a long time.”

        So that might not be totally correct, thanks for putting that comment out, I learnt some thing also.

        • Hivemind9000

          Yeah, but R&D is a pretty broad field and doesn’t necessarily mean innovation. R&D can often mean simply researching what others are doing and figuring out how to catch them (MS does a lot of this as they have been slow to move in many fields – mobile, cloud services etc).

          I don’t think Microsoft believe in VR and seem to be committing resources more to AR – so yes, I agree they are innovating, but not in the field of VR. Which sucks since it means we only have one major console manufacturer pushing VR forward – Sony.

          • bud01

            VR long term will most likely be moved across into Neuralink type technologies, Brain to brain high fidelity visual override is possible so actual attach or localised stimulation to single or groups of neurons should see the eventual path for VR to be by way of brain interface. Not investing or pushing hard on the VR front by MS does taste sour thou, if that is indeed what they are doing.

          • Ultimateduck

            Neuralink…lol. I love how people just 20 steps of a process with what they think will be the end result. You think companies will forego everything that leads up to a neural link and then just build a neural link system? Do you think everything leading up to a neural link with be unworthy of your time?

            Some guy said to me “VR is dumb. To talk to him when we have holodecks”… while he plays on a 30” computer monitor. As if there will be nothing interesting for him between his flat monitor and a holodeck. So much silliness out there.

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      • Andrew Jakobs

        gothicvilla is stuck in dark ages, and doesn’t know what he’s talking about.. yeah in regard to VR they might not have been innovating…

        • Zantetsu

          I’ve been in the computer industry for more than 25 years and “innovative” has *never* been a term I would apply to Microsoft. *NEVER*.

          • dan breen

            All the kids all over the world getting to play computer games for the first time with the Xbox Adaptive Controller would disagree

          • Zantetsu

            You all do understand that “innovative” is a term that means more than “has innovated” right? It’s about the degree to which the company innovates relative to its size and the amount of development that it does that is *not* innovative.

            The vast, vast majority of what Microsoft has created over the years is purely derivative.

          • doug

            Microsoft had several game-changing innovations… in the field of anti-competitive marketing.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            They have been innovative more than enough in the past, especially in regard to software development.. But hee, if your hatred for MS is blinding you from seeing that, go ahead..

  • antonio mora

    For me VR mods is some of the best VR I’ve experienced so far. GTA V mod is nothing short of spectacular.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    It’s a shame Sega doesn’t release a VR enabled version of Alien isolation, just give this zack some money and let him add it officially and sell it as an addon for $5. It’ll sell the original game again with all it’s DLC including the VR addon to a lot of people, earning at least the money they gave this zack..
    And his work on Halo looks great.

    • mirak

      It would be an admission of their own failure.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Why would it be an admission of their own failure? At the time of release of Alien Isolation there wasn’t really a consumer headset, only the DK2 which was NOT a consumer headset.

  • Yeshaya

    Does he have any plans for doing mods for other games in the Master Chief collection? That would be amazing

    • AC Gamer

      The vr mod will be worked on for all Halo games in MCC

  • T2814

    I’ve been playing Alien Isolation with the MotherVR mod on my Rift S and it’s been a lot of fun and really well done, with a nice sense of scale and presence.

    While I’d prefer to see the first Halo game, Combat Evolved, get the VR treatment first, any Halo game with VR support would probably be a very cool experience.

    It will be interesting to see how, if at all, Microsoft reacts to any potential mods and whether they will look the other way or move to squash it. It would be more than a little embarrassing for them if a few indies could do what they themselves have been unwilling to do amid all their “VR is not ready for primetime” proclamations.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Big shame they never finished the VR support for Alien Isolation. Still think it would be wise for them to have one developer finishing it and sell it as a DLC to the original game. It would at least give the game extra interest again.. I still have to try the MotherVR mod. thanks for reminding..

      • mirak

        You are not allowed legally to modify the code, so that would make it hard to sell.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Ofcourse I meant for Sega to have the developer (original studio who created Alien Isolation) do this and then sell it as an official DLC. Hell Sega could even hire the person who did the mod to finish it.

  • now this has me excited

  • NooYawker

    He already moved on from alien isolation? Did he ever get it to work with motion controllers?

  • JesuSaveSouls

    I will get the game when the mod gets released.

  • Alextended

    That’s ancient from December 12. He just re-mentioned it in that interview tidbit. I’ve mentioned it in your comments section myself only to get downvoted, lol.

  • the vast majority

    Wow, it looks great. Hope this is on the way.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Oh that’s really awesome.. Loved the early access game Reboant – Endless dawn which is now only 1,59 euro’s (just disregard the negative reviews as it’s based on the initial release with almost no content and it was a rerelease), this is getting close to what a first person halo type of shooter is. Shame they never finished it, but for 1,59 euro (I bought it even cheaper when it was in the wintersale) it really is a great show with it’s triple AAA graphics.
    Hopefully Microsoft will release an official VR release of Halo..

  • JesuSaveSouls

    This dev does some really cool things.

  • Amazing, we are all so excited!

  • When Microsoft drops the ball, the fans answer the call. Can hardly wait to play this.