E3 2017: Fallout 4 VR Full Locomotion Hands-On

by Tal Blevins • June 14th, 2017

After Bethesda’s impressive conference and reiteration of their dedication to VR, I finally got a chance to step into the wasteland and play Fallout 4 VR on the Vive for myself.

For those of you familiar with Fallout 4 – and I assume that’s most of you — the demo started out at the Red Rocket gas station in between Sanctuary and Concord, so basically at the start of the game.

Since this is the full Fallout 4 experience in VR, everything was familiar with the exception of the controls. The demo locomotion default was teleport, so I hopped around the Red Rocket taking out ghouls with Dogmeat by my side.

Switching weapons was a breeze by clicking the right touchpad which brought up a weapon wheel where I cycled through my pistol, rifle and mini nuke easily with my thumb. Clicking around the touchpad switched my favorites, and I made sure the mini nuke was always just one click away just in case I needed the heavy firepower.

I lifted my left arm and saw exactly what I expected to see – the reassuring green glow of my Pip-Boy. Swiping left and right took me through the menus, and pressing the center of the touchpad let me select. Once I was done, I dropped my arm and I was back in the game world. It was all very fluid and felt more immersive and real than ever.

After a brief stint checking out my Pip-Boy and trying the teleportation mode, I switched over to full locomotion and made my way down the hill toward Concord and the Deathclaw I knew was waiting there for me. On the way I happened upon a Power Armor suit that was neatly placed in the roadway just for this demo, so I hopped in and continued down the hill.

For the most part movement was smooth, with the left touchpad controlling direction and speed through double tapping. The game was a little jittery, but I’ll chalk that up to back-to-back demos with little time to fully recalibrate for each player.

It wasn’t long before I spotted the Deathclaw in the distance, charging at me like a locomotive while Preston Garvey took shots at him from high atop the museum in the center of town. While I could have opted to launch a mini nuke, I instead decided to pop into VATS using the right menu button and target the Deathclaw with my minigun.

VATS works a little differently in Fallout 4 VR, and instead of pausing the action to allow you to pick a body part and then restarting the normal flow, VR VATS is a slow-motion mode that highlights specific body parts for focused aiming. With unlimited VATS in the demo, I dispatched the Deathclaw in short order and made my way to the museum.

Raiders, raiders, oh when will you learn, raiders? Try to attack me as they might, the Power Armor and minigun combo ripped through wave after wave of raider scum in the museum. I wanted to grab a spare fusion core, so I made my way to the basement where the generator was housed behind a locked door. Lockpicking in VR is similar to the previous version of Fallout 4, only with slightly different controls. I used my thumb on the right pad to guide my hairpin until I found the sweet spot, then pulled the right trigger to twist the screwdriver and pop the lock.

After blasting through even more raiders, I made my way upstairs and talked to my old – yet new – buddy Preston. I found the perspective in the Power Armor even more enhanced in VR as I looked down upon Preston and the remnants of the Minutemen, who looked tiny in comparison to my hulking, armored stature.

As much as I wanted to keep going to find some Super Mutants and explore Boston, my time in the wasteland was up; it was a short but awesome experience that made me feel more a part of Fallout than ever before.

Consumer virtual reality is still in its infancy, and at this stage, it’s not economically feasible to put a team of hundreds on AAA VR game development because we don’t have mass hardware adoption yet, so it’s VR translations of popular games like Fallout and Skyrim that are going to drive headset sales and create scale for the VR industry.

I’m looking forward to diving back in the wasteland for a longer adventure, and the wait won’t be long as Fallout 4 VR is slated to come out in October 2017.

What's your reaction?
  • Aesop Mcelroy

    But are there hands in game? Through a me of in VR when I can only see the weapon..

    • random access

      For me, awkwardly places arms ruin immersion in games like Raw Data. I like the no-arms approach.

      • Tyler Soward

        Yeah no hands doesn’t really bother me

      • Bundy

        You see this a lot in Star Trek.

      • elev8d

        If you are going to do inverse kinematics for arms I feel like they need to limit arm positions and provide a whole body this is why Raw Data gets weird.

    • John Collins

      Arms I don’t mind if they are missing but hands for me really throws me off. Not a deal breaker but just got use to seeing hands with the other games I play that when I see floating items it breaks my immersion.

      • Cam Ron

        Horseshooes, hotdogs does just fine without hands or arms.

        • d0x360

          Fine? I dunno sometimes without being able to see hands it makes certain weapons function ridiculously and others will suddenly just start flopping about because your hand touched somewhere.

          Having the controller rumble when you are over a spot is helpful but being able to see the hands so you can line up easier is the way to go.

          I get not wanting arms that go spastic but rendering hands isn’t a big ask… Especially when instead of hands they render the controller

    • It doesn’t seem so. They probably had to remove that 1st-person rig altogether. Though I’m sure they’ll either add hands and/or body in the future or someone will mod them in. It looks like they have hands in Skyrim VR.

    • David Melton

      Thanks to visuotactile integration your brain mostly fills in the blanks

  • GreasyMullet

    Great article. Question about rifles, mingun, etc. How did they handle with the controllers? Most games have had a hard time making them work right in game which is why so many shooters in VR use pistols. How did these weapons handle and did you have to change your grip depending on the weapon? Such as holding a pistol vs a rifle vs a minigun vs a Fatboy?

    With the hands it appears empty. Has there been any word if they will add this into the real game? how about being able to look down and see your Power Armor? Did your HUD change when in the armor?

    • Dakota Dunn

      I’m sure they only had iron sights in the demo but ADS with a scope details would be really nice.

      • GreasyMullet

        Even with irons how do you change your grip to hold the minigun? Holding the minigun is similar to using a leaf blower it looks like which requires very different placement of your hands.

        With a rifle needing both hands I am curious how that works and without a solid object to hold I would think your front hand would make things go a little wonky. The games I have played that tried to do this have struggled and so I am very curious how Fallout will handle it for not just rifles but a variety of weapon types that require different grips.

        • Dakota Dunn

          I don’t see HTC coming out with their own version of the Aim Controller. I think one handing all weapons is the safest route. You can still use a pistol+flashlight grip if you want extra stability while holding both wands.

          • Selig

            They don’t need a aim controller, they already have the tracker to be attached to anything. There already is a gun controller someone made along with a bunch of other things, I’m mostly excited for the gloves

        • Kacey Sherrard

          yeah i get what you mean having two separate objects for one longer or bigger weapon, it makes it awkward. Something i think they should do if just make it so to grip a weapon with both hands you just put your controllers close to each other like your holding a pistol with both hands, that not only helps stability but actually gets both hands on a weapon that requires two which feels good enough for me anyway. 🙂

  • Selig

    Any chance did you got to try out melee combat in vr?

  • Buddydudeguy

    I can’t believe they thought to remove the players hands. Who’s in charge of these decisions? Same morons who think payed mods are a good idea I guess?

    • batmobil

      Someone who thinks of all the issues you could not?

      • JoeD

        like what? You’re just making things up. There is no reason to remove hands.

        • David Melton

          How about the fact that its VR and doesn’t work like a 2D game. You would have to perfect the position of the hands holding every object in the game and it would have to hold up to scrutiny from every angle at close range. Try animating that…. They left them out becuase its a ton more work than most people are aware of.

      • Buddydudeguy

        Oh please. You were going to think of something smart but just decided to brain fart? There is no reason to have a floating weapon and floating Pitboy, and not see hands.

        • batmobil

          Get a job at Bethesda as a core member of the Fallout team then, since you know their job better than they do.

          • Buddydudeguy


          • Nate

            Go back to your hole, troll.

  • Onyx Blue

    Valve is working on three AAAs – all new IPs – and we will be seeing a full length game of what has been teased out in the Robot Repair Portal demo

  • It’s great to see big AAA games like this already appearing for VR–despite what they naysayers would have had everyone believe–because they are going to push VR to even more people, which is only a good thing. Keep ’em coming (to all of the major VR headsets). The future of VR is only getting brighter and brighter.

  • They should probably put an option within settings to turn on / off hands mode.

  • jazneo

    i bet mod will add body hands

  • Vova Andrienko

    To reduce motion sickness its preferable to see your hands and your full body with legs, basically you need to trick your brain, otherwise its gonna feel unnatural and lead to motion sickness, especially for unexperienced VR users…

  • JoeD

    The real key is to be able to play the game normally or in VR. VR is not well suited, right now, for long game play sessions. A game like Fallout needs the ability to switch between the two games, or seamlessly have the ability to transfer your game from one to the other.

  • Florian Renault

    I guess the 3dRudder would be the perfect tool for locomotion in Fallout 4 VR. I tried it with Arizona sunshine with HTC Vive, it worked pretty well.

  • d0x360

    Jittery because they couldn’t recalibrate for other players…what are you talking about?

    Jittery in what way because usually people use that to talk about frame rate. Height differences between players shouldnt effect the game either unless they set it up for someone a foot taller or shorter than you.

  • i can imagine the hrs upon hrs of scavenging for duct tape , etc that will be so ‘fun’ in vr

    • David Poore

      i actually think it will. especially if you have to reach down an pick it up. good excersise!

      personally i cant wait to put buckets on peoples heads with perfect accuracy. i got stupid good at manipulating the physics in bethesda games, grabbin an object and turning sideways and slinging the mouse. now ill be able to just use my hands and throw em! i hope enemies can now take damage from physics enabled objects being thrown by the player, pleeeeease!

  • David Poore

    oh thank god, you can jump using direct movement control by pressing left trigger. all is well in my world now.

  • David Poore

    really wish we could see our whole body in vr. i love that in the few games that support it. it doesnt match 100 percent but thats what makes it neat to me. its more like remote controlling another human lol.