Fallout 4 VR is great, but its exclusive release is bad for anyone who cares about VR gaming | PCGamesN

Fallout 4 VR is great, but its exclusive release is bad for anyone who cares about VR gaming

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Update August 24, 2017: After HTC tweeted the release date claiming exclusivity on their VR platform, Bethesda corrected them, which has led HTC to issue a retraction. But that's not necessarily proof we'll ever see the official version on the Rift.

Read more: the best VR games available today.

Bethesda's tweet claims that, while Fallout 4 VR arrives first on the HTC Vive platform, they want to see it on as many platforms as possible.

HTC Vive's Twitter account then quietly followed their own announcement retracting the 'exclusive' tag. That makes it sound like we're just talking about a timed exclusive for the Vive and Fallout 4 VR will come to all the lovely virtual reality platforms available.

Except, does it? The only platforms Bethesda have announced any of its VR titles for - be they Doom VFR, Skyrim VR, or Fallout 4 VR - are the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. The likelihood of them releasing any of them on any other PC platform is surely so remote it's practically living somewhere people in Outer Mongolia would call 'a bit of a trek'.

I'm still not convinced we'll see an official release on the Oculus Rift, leaving the Vive as the 'exclusive' PC platform for Fallout 4 VR.

Cheers for pointing that out, Mr. Kirk!

Original story August 23, 2017: Fallout 4 VR got under my skin at Gamescom. It made me want more, didn’t make me vomit, and now I’m going to have to buy it all over again and start the massive post-apocalyptic romp afresh. But, because of its Vive exclusivity, it’s not going to be able to fulfil its touted destiny as the gaming saviour of virtual reality.

My first taste of Fallout 4 VR wasn’t enough. I had to blag my way past the queue into a HTC Vive gamepod twice at Gamescom just to partially sate my growing wasteland thirst. 

I’ve already sunk 72 hours into the flatpanel version of Fallout 4. Now, I know there will be a whole lot of you reading that and scoffing at my nebbish tendencies, having only spent a mere three days in total travelling the Commonwealth, but that’s a lot of time for me. All games take second place to my Football Manager addiction (923 hours in the latest iteration so far), so 72 hours is me actually giving another title a real good go.

But despite that, all my time in Fallout 4 has been for naught, because when December 12 rolls around I’m going to have start all over again. That’s when Fallout 4 VR gets released and, having played it here at Gamescom, I’ve no other option than to buy it all over again and suffer the end of the world once more.

It’s by no means perfect - lifting the Pip Boy into view by raising your left wrist may be intuitive, though navigating it via the Vive’s radial pad certainly is not, and dear god, the settlement building in VR fills me with dread - but the sense of presence in the nuclear wasteland of the Commonwealth is palpable. I found the original flatland version of the game immersive, but this really is another level. 

Fallout 4 VR Pip Boy

Walking into the first town, with the shattered buildings looming high above me, felt tense and oppressive. So much so it's not going to be general headset discomfort which will curtail my Fallout 4 VR play sessions, but the creeping malaise born of submerging myself so fully in the end of the world. Though, it has to be said, my initial tension melted away as soon as I started turning raiders into jam with my minigun. Mmmm, satisfying lead-based jam making...

I was expecting ‘walking into the first town’ to actually be ‘teleporting into the first town’ but thankfully that’s just an option you can select in the gameplay settings. The more immersive direct motion method was on by default in my first playthrough of the ten-minute demo, and was surprisingly slick. I did briefly try the teleport method, which I'd argue is as jarring as it is immersion-breaking.

Fallout 4 VR VATS

I was expecting to leave my first experience of the VR wasteland chucking up chunks of bockwurst over the massed Gamescom public, but I didn't even feel the slightest twinge of nausea. Each visit was a fairly short ten-minute demo, but normally my protesting inner ear will let me know if I’m going to find myself at home to Mr. Vom pretty much immediately. 

I told Graham Breen, Vive's program manager, as much after my second sneaky go.

“We’ve had a lot of people tell us this today,” he says. “We’ve had a full programme of journalists going through today, and a lot of people have said exactly that.”

(They obviously hadn't said exactly that - I'd explained my lack of motion sickness using less colourful language.)

"I think it’s a combination of very fluid movement," Breen continues, "that’s what it is, very fluid, keeping the frame rate high - some of the basics that we’ve known for a long time. Other than that, no, there’s no magic, it’s just a really well put together piece of programming.”

I’m not sure how the main character interactions are going to feel in VR - I didn’t get the chance to engage with anyone in ways other than introducing them to my leetle friend (as Scarface would say) - and the melee handling was fun, but occasionally clippy as onrushing ghouls swiped through me and appeared at my back.

I’ve still got to agree with Graham Breen, however, that it is well put together. Though, by making Fallout 4 VR a Vive exclusive, Bethesda and HTC might think they’re pulling off some sort of coup, but in reality that could end up hurting the VR market as a whole.

Fallout 4 VR Workshop

Both AMD and HTC have hailed Fallout 4’s virtual reality edition as one of the most important upcoming titles for VR, and with the recent price drops, HTC and Oculus are trying to get as many people as possible buying headsets and getting into VR. Those things don’t really chime together if Fallout 4 VR is just going to be available on one device.

Virtual reality gaming needs people playing it, and it doesn't really matter what platform they're using. There are enough gamers in the world for two headsets to co-exist without trying to impose more platform exclusives. Of course, Oculus have had their fair share of Rift exclusives, so they're definitely not as pure as the driven snow in all this.

And I understand there’s a certain amount of enmity between Oculus and Bethesda’s Zenimax overlords but, if virtual reality is going to be a gaming success on PC, ring-fencing what’s supposed to be a landmark VR title is not the way to go about it. There will likely be modders fiddling with files to get the game functional on the Rift, but it's not the same as official support.

Which is a shame, because otherwise Fallout 4 VR is frickin’ awesome.

Subnautica
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Jelman avatarDustyGerkin avatarNeofightr avatarWhiteCrow avatarQQQQ avatarDave James avatar+2
Anakhoresis Avatar
659
8 Months ago

So they haven't even said anything about timed release yet? That would be disappointing, as I picked up an Oculus with the sale. Hopefully people can hack around the exclusivity like they have with other titles. To be honest, I didn't like Fallout 4 that much, but in VR I would probably enjoy it more.

It's also funny/sad that HTC decided to wait until the tail end of the Oculus sale to finally drop their price. After several people I know decided to get an Oculus Rift even though they really wanted a Vive, but the price difference was too great.

1
WhiteCrow Avatar
628
8 Months ago

"to get an Oculus even though they really wanted a Rift"

What?

2
Anakhoresis Avatar
659
8 Months ago

Whoops haha, I am a tard.

1
QQQQ Avatar
3
8 Months ago

You know what he meant.....always godda be an anal one eh?

0
Jelman Avatar
1
8 Months ago

https://twitter.com/BethesdaStudios/status/900165101998800900

not even vive exclusive

1
Dave James Avatar
588
8 Months ago

That could well just mean it's a timed exclusive and will eventually come to PSVR.

1
DustyGerkin Avatar
193
8 Months ago

There's quite a few Oculus only games out there as well.

Killing floor, Lone Echo, Robo Recall etc oh, and that one 'Super' one.

1
Neofightr Avatar
16
8 Months ago

Hypocrites, Valve/HTC claimed their VR would not go the exclusive route like Oclulus did and yet here we are. Hypocrites.

Bethesda treats the consumer base like cattle, ready to manipulate the masses to stick it to Oculus over their law suits. Pathetic.

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DustyGerkin Avatar
193
8 Months ago

You can't blame Bethesda not wanting to support a company they were involved in a legal fight with. Would you? Lots of bad blood.

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QQQQ Avatar
3
8 Months ago

Meh, looks like I'll have to stick to using vorpx for my rift. Still, means I save £40 eh?

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chugs Avatar
2
7 Months ago

After reading about about using VorpX and Fallout NV I sold all of my babies clothing, food and toys so I could build myself a top of the line PC, with GTX 1080, more ram then you can count, a intel CPU with more threads then an egpytian cotton sheet, and a PSU with more watts then a nuclear reactor. Despite HTC ripping off everyone outside of the US (cough $800 AUD my ass, it was $1300 AUD at the checkout) I got my hyper expensive VR headset, my overclocked gaming PC, and have been patiently waiting for a game will allow me to walk around a wasteland without using teleporting (but doesn't require a space the size of a indoor scoccer arena).

I love VR, as an early adaptor with children who are running around naked in the dust and dirt (its an immersion thing with the wasteland), I have been waiting a long time for Fallout 4 VR - after almost 3,000 hours in the game I actually stopped playing so I could build up my lust for wasteland destruction.

So I understand the need to bill a fee for the VR version of Fallout 4. If they had one or two guys assigned to building the VR version perhaps not but from the sounds of it they had a large team dedicated to creating the VR version and its taken them a good year plus to get it right.

So its not a small thing rebuilding fallout 4, properly, for VR. I for one am willing to pay/reward them for ensuring the game has been properly modified for VR.

As we all know VR gaming is a temperamental beast. Its extremely hard to get right so the fact that most of the reviews say that it's enjoyable and immersive says a lot.

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