With the announcement of Bethesda’s recently revealed commitment to virtual reality – alongside the news that Fallout 4 is coming to VR in 2017 – I was eager to get my head into a game from one of the most successful studios to date. What I found was an unfinished tech demo, but one that portends much about the future of AAA VR titles.

Dematerializing from the Steam VR loading screen, I found myself standing outside the Red Rocket station, a sight ingrained into me after tens of hours using it as my one and only base in the Wasteland. With a Pipboy floating strapped to my invisible forearm, and a pistol on my right hand, I knew I was back in the thick of one of my favorite games, but in the strangest capacity.

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I reacquainted myself with Dogmeat, the series trusty canine companion and first true friend in the Wasteland, and continued teleporting short hops around the Red Rocket station. Happening upon a bunch of bottles just waiting to be exploded with my stock 10mm, I opened up a hail of unlimited ammo. Blowing the bottles to bits, I was told that I’d next get a crack at a group of raiders.

The malcontents stormed the Rocket, but were quick fodder for my shotgun (and a few nibbles from Dogmeat). Alone again, I wistfully looked out over the back of the station to the dilapidated roofs of Concord, the nearest town. I again cycled through the Pipboy on my invisible left arm to find my very own Fatman, the series’s shoulder-mounted tactical nuke. Letting out an unlimited hail of mini-nukes over the town, I begin to think of the settlers, the wandering traders that I’ve no doubt atomized into a charred heap. Now I am become death, destroyer of Massholes.

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fatman fallout 4

I spent so much time in the Red Rocket station in the PC version, using it as hub to store all my cans, stolen radios and other detritus scrabbled from the Wasteland, that finally being inside of the iconic retro future gas station in VR was kind of a homecoming for me. Seeing Dogmeat in the flesh as he ambled around the station, ears perked in my direction, underscores the reason why I love VR. Now I want to see the Church of the Children of Atom, and explore the Institute in virtual reality, all of it again with the sense of truly being there with my dog-buddy by my side.

With that said, and however incredible it was to step into my favorite flatscreen game of the past 2 years, I still can’t say I was entirely satisfied with the experience. Bethesda’s VR version of Fallout 4 is far from ready for the eyeballs of the paying public, as there still no way to interact with world objects (outside of shooting them), no adaptation of the inventory system, and teleporting across the Wasteland still feels a bit like cheating. Then there’s fighting.

Shooting a few raiders is easy. But how will battling against a giant Death Claw work? Will he anticlimactically clip through my body when he makes a charge for me? What happens when he flings me high into the air with a slash of his giant claw? Will I instinctually teleport to safety, dodging his advances with ease? How else will teleporting break the way I experience the game? There are still too many unanswered questions from my time with Fallout 4.

But after all this, I’m really ok with the fact that the VR version of Fallout 4 has fallen short of my expectations upon first viewing – a strange thing to say, I know. The value for Bethesda in their new Bethesda VR initiative isn’t so much in re-creating Fallout 4 for VR headsets, but rather the act of assembling a team to do so, a team that will hopefully go on to create bigger and better purpose-built VR games at the same scale and polish with which the studio has become synonymous.

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And those are the games we’ll remember when we think back on the glory days of ‘the first AAA games for VR’, and not a VR version of Fallout 4.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • VR Cat

    I know a few people who won’t be teleporting! Looking forward to seeing object interaction, that’s going to make a big difference.

    • Master E

      Though I can’t afford a PC at the moment… I’d love to see Sony come out with a pair of move controllers that had analogs on them for PSVR. This way movement and interaction could happen with them.

      For Fallout we could move forward back strafe left and right with the left stick, then turn with the right stick, plus all the buttons for picking up objects menus etc.

      There are some really simple ways to make it more appealing to the masses and they are missing the boat

  • Matt R

    I think when it’s finished it will be a must have VR game.

  • Sam Illingworth

    How did it look? Was the distance and detail good enugh? Gameplay can be tweaked, but is the hardware up to the job?

  • TC_Orygun

    I hope they don’t “only” allow teleportation. Real movement should at least be a configurable option. It can be done in ways that are tolerable for most, and preferable to some, like me. Also, even an option for a 3rd person chase cam might be a good option, as that seems to work well. Give people options!

    • Luke

      I wish a configuarable option too!

    • Arv

      Absolutely. Not having an option for each one of teleportation, comfort mode and traditional smooth turning and analog stick locomotion for EVERY GAME is bad for VR. People aren’t going to get their ‘VR Legs’ if developers continue to wrap players in cotton wool.

      It’s no coincidence that those people that have had a DK1 and DK2 back before the teleportation and comfort mode mechanics were even thought of have no problems with smooth turning and analog stick locomotion. They have no problems because they’ve played this way until feeling odd or uncomfortable and then STOPPED playing. Then had a break for a few hours and then diving in again, repeating the process, and by doing so have increased the time each time playing before having problems AKA getting stronger VR legs.

      • Master E

        VR Legs! Someone that understands!

    • Greg Dietz

      I agree. I get no motion sickness or anything moving 1st person in VR. I found a good control scheme(imo) is turning ever slightly looking the left or right of center in combination with ever turning so slightly with the right analog stick. It’s not overly quick or jarring in any way(imo). But yeah give us an option please. This teleport stuff is for amateurs.

    • Master E

      AGREED!!!!! Many of us do not get motion sick. To only allow teleporting would be a travesty!!! If the Camera is kept relatively steady i.e. not changing height with every step someone takes over a staircase, VR orientation is way better.

      Another thing is people just need to acclimate to some of these games. I mentioned it in other posts, but people used to get sick playing Doom and flight sims back in the day. Just educate the public!

      PLEASE ALLOW Smooth motion control! Personally would not get this if it’s that BS teleport system only

  • Massholes, realy? pass

    • iBlendStuff

      I’m from the Boston area and it doesn’t bother me any.

  • Patrick Moore

    Maybe have a charge meter on the teleport function/range so you can only cover ground so quickly?

  • DiGiCT Ltd

    They gonna face movement problems in VR for sure ccompared to the PC version.
    The gameplay needs big adjustments and will not be the same in playway as pc, as thats simply will not work for most players (motion sickness) it could be more like when you are near an enemy it makes an instance battle at that point until one of the 2 wins the fight the game goes back to exploring mode, its the best way to go for it imo in VR.
    FPS games are a pain in VR unless you have a vehicle your on/in or you have static spots (fighting positions) as other did too.
    Hoverjunkers is a mix of the 2 techniques been used.
    Gameplay needs to be different , although the difference can make it better or worse, that’s what we will see when it is released.

  • Trailmix

    Im pretty sure they could incorporate a Virtuix, that would fix a lot of the problem.
    The problem is, however, those types of machines arn’t mainstream in the market. And the market itself isn’t mainstream yet either.

    • Benschachar

      Why hadn’t I heard of the Virtuix before now?

  • Christopher Houser

    I’m sorry, man. but your writing feels very forced. Likewise, ,the game hasn’t been out much more than half a year, yet it’s been your favorite flat screen game for 2 years? I’m a little confused here.

    Also, you played a beta. Teleporting isn’t likely to be the method of moving around.

    • “my favorite flatscreen game of the past 2 years” – to mean his favourite standard game of the last 2 years, not that he’d been playing it for two years.

      As for Teleportation, I’d say it’s actually very likely that to be a default movement option for the full version as it’s currently one of the most comfortable methods, even if they do include other more standard methods too.

  • crim3

    I’m finding myself strangely tolerant to trackpad movement. I hope that once it is the same for 90% of VR gamers developers forget about the need to adjust game mechanics around teletransportation.

  • Benschachar

    I think it would be possible use the trackpads for movement instead of teleporting.

  • Harald Heide Gundersen

    What’s wrong with teleportation?? Walking around is soo last world….
    That said a movement system where you always follows your gaze and is limited to move straight forward/backward with linear speed by using the left or right grip ( or whateva) on your controllers would not induce vr sickness in any mentionable degree…

  • Josh

    The best way to play this, when it’s eventually released, will obviously be with the a VR treadmill like the Virtuix Omni. Mine arrives in a couple months, I hope. It will be excellent.

    Of course, there’s no need to wait for the official release, but there will obviously be a huge difference between playing the game with a console gamepad and the Vive’s 1:1 control scheme.