Even though it was included as one of our predictions for E3 2017, I never actually thought I’d get to sit there at a press conference and watch the world reveal for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR. It’s really happening.
Even though the game originally came out back in 2011 it still holds up incredibly well as one of the absolute best and most popular roleplaying games of all-time. The prospect of being able to explore the northern mountains and battling against the awoken dragons sounded too good to be something Bethesda would actually do, but here we are.
Luckily at E3 2017 this week we were able to go hands-on with the game and step inside the boots of the Dovahkin for the very first time. As of now it’s only confirmed for the PlayStation VR (PSVR) headset, but we have a feeling that it will come to Rift and/or Vive eventually. Interestingly, Fallout 4 VR is currently only slated for the HTC Vive.
In the announcement trailer from Sony’s E3 2017 press conference (embedded above) you can clearly see what looks like smooth movement around the environment, but in my demo it was teleportation movement only using the PS Move controllers. When we checked the PlayStation Store listing for Skyrim VR, we noticed that both PS Move and the DualShock 4 were listed as controller options.
Since my demo was Move with teleportation only my guess is that when you’re using the DualShock 4 it has smooth movement only since the Move controllers don’t have an analog stick.
My demo took place at Bleak Falls Barrow, one of the very first dungeons you visit in the game. Since it was a demo there were a few changes made to streamline it all. I only had a sword, bow, and a few spells for example, but the actual game will of course have the entire plethora of items and abilities from the full game.
I played using two PS Move controllers so teleportation and snap turning was my only movement option. The representative that showed me the demo explained that with the DualShock 4 they have smooth movement and are trying to figure out a way to enable that for Move as well.
I could bring up my favorites list to switch spells and items quickly so my default was usually a steel sword and flame spell with ice spikes and lightning available if I needed it. Shooting the bow was accomplished by mimicking nocking and loosing an arrow just like most other VR games you have probably played.
Combat felt good, but the lack of smooth movement made it tough to subtly maneuver around enemies. The teleportation mechanic was more like a sprint movement than blinking so it wasn’t totally immersion breaking. The representative also told me they are trying to find a way to enable voice commands for shouts, something I requested almost immediately.
Overall the demo was impressive and definitely felt like Skyrim. The resolution was quite low and clearly had to be downgraded to run on the PSVR without issues, but the framerate was as smooth as butter the entire time.
The fact that a game like this, of this size and quality, exists in VR at all is remarkable. Just the mere thought of having all three major expansions included and the entire base game, all running in VR, is incredible.
I’ve invested hundreds of hours into Skyrim and look forward to returning to the land of Tamriel with a brand new perspective and sense of presence.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR is scheduled to release for PSVR later this holiday season in 2017. An eventual release on other VR platforms is expected.
For more details on Skyrim VR, Doom VFR, and Fallout 4 VR, make sure to stay with UploadVR and check our E3 news hub for all of the latest VR and AR announcements.