E3 2017 Hands-On: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR Is Like A Dream Come True For RPG Fans

by David Jagneaux • June 14th, 2017

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.

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  • Phillip Brown

    Unlikely that Zenimax will want Bethesda IP to come out on the Rift any time soon!

    • KUKWES

      meh rather play The SoulKeeper VR instead of a game that looks like crap in VR because the assets looked aged.

    • Zomby2D

      Like every single “Vive” game, Doom and Fallout 4 VR will also work on the Rift since they use OpenVR.

      • d0x360

        Exactly, the only thing that sucks is the oculus controllers are way better for traditional movement. Well imo they are better period but the twin analog sticks make traditional movement a dream.

        What really sucks is when they hit pc both fallout 4 VR and Skyrim will be games you have to buy AGAIN! Why can’t they at least just do it as DLC or if you already own the normal game you can get it for like $20 or less? If it’s full price I’ll wait until a big sale because there is zero chance I’ll buy Skyrim for a 4th time (360, pc, pc remaster) and I won’t buy fallout 4 twice especially after it crashed on me over and over today. In 2 hours it probably crashed about 10 times with and without mods.

        I think it was blur effect 2 vr that I played the other day using the sticks for movement and it was SO much better than teleporting all over the damn place.

        Valve needs better controllers, ones with a analog sticks.

        Anyone play boxing with the Vive? It feels absurdly unnatural because of the way you hold them but on the oculus it’s natural.

        • Schorsch

          OH NO! Don’t speak out..the….UNSPEAKABLE! That the Vive wands do indeed suck donkey ducks! EXCEPT…for “bow and arrow wave room scale shooters” <— or why do you think there are 900 "bow and arrow wave room scale shooters" for the Vive? But it's not only that "Vive people" keep denying that their controllers blow chunks. Now they get "new" controllers with the knuckle-head controllers…and you know what, they're ALSO having track-pads…and are basically more or less the same like the abomination which the wands are. You know, I wouldn't spend my time wasting here with cursing about the Vive wands…if it wasn't for the fact that Valve, for whatever unknown reason, seriously pisses off Oculus users with their absurd way of controls in Steam Home. "Absurd" is probably the understatement of the century here, pressing buttons for turning [no, I am not making this up!] while entirely ignoring the joystick.

          • Ok

          • Neo_Baggins

            You reek of someone who hasn’t done more than try a Vive at Best Buy. When properly implemented (Onward) the touchpads are much closer to a mouse than to a clunky and fiddly thumbstick. Imagine wanting to move in a direction and just placing your thumb on the touchpad in that direction. Need to strafe? Slide left or right. No need for an annoying recentering thumbstick. Leave those to consoles.

            I also how Oculus users knowingly bankroll the facebook owned company that is trying to play off an hmd (glorified monitor) as a console with exclusives, then complain loud and long when Valve doesn’t peddle every single game just so, so as to work with the rift. I could make the same complaint that Revive doesn’t change the thumbstick style controls to take advantage of the superior precision and reaction time afforded by touchpads. Revive games make me place my finger in the center and then slide as if I am some console peasant using an analog stick.

            But I can see how stupid this is. Both Steam Home and Revive are attempting to create an open platform for VR and bring all HMDs together. We all know that Oculus and Facebook are the problem.

        • Neo_Baggins

          This is the one sided argument that all rift owners use. The vive controllers are great at simulating holding an object or weapon, whereas anyone who has held a gun can tell you how different it feels from the rift controllers. Also, the design of the vive controllers allows for easier design of peripherals to turn the controllers into a rifle, etc. But arguing over which controller is better is moot because the future isn’t in a controller, it’s in trackers, like the vive puck, and full hand tracking.

          Also, if you even have a vive, and aren’t basing your biases off of trying one for a bit, do yourself a favor and get Onward. It uses the touchpads to great effect in locomotion. you don’t have to physically slide your finger like it’s a stick, you put your finger on the touchpad in the direction you wish to go. You can slide if you want, but it just picks up wherever you put your finger down. Much more precise and reminiscent of a mouse than a thumbstick.

    • David Barrett

      Honestly, I don’t get why people keep saying this. This isn’t how business works. I firmly believe both FO4VR, DoomVR and SkyrimVR will all come to all systems.

      Bethesda are a business within its own right. It has it’s own margins etc. it has to meet. They’ve put a lot of money into developing these VR titles (hence the $105AU price tag for Fallout4VR!). They’re not going to exclude 40-50% (guesstimates) of their potential return on investment just because they’re parent company is in litigation with one of the suppliers. That’s just not a good way of doing business.

      Apple are in constant litigation with Samsung. Doesn’t stop them using Samsung panels in their devices!

      They may not come out on Rift at launch, no – but it won’t be long until they are.

      • uberwolfe

        You are absolutely correct.

        The only thing not releasing it on the Rift would do is hurt innocent consumers who just want to give Bethesda their money.

        I don’t believe they will spite customers over a corporate stoush.

        • Bundy

          I suspect we’ll just see timed delays for official Oculus support (correcting the hand position on the Touch controllers), and keeping their games off the Oculus Store.

      • Bundy

        Well to be fair, Apple did cut back on the business they did with Samsung. They even publicly warned Samsung that they’d do this.

        They can’t 100% stop though because of the volume of components Apple needs.

      • Phillip Brown

        Good citation of Apple vs. Samsung, and I agree; it will happen eventually (officially), just maybe not ‘soon’ (6 – 12 months). Fact is though that Bethesda have made their margins from Skyrim, Doom and Fallout already, their foray into VR is them offering support to gain momentum and further legitimacy for the platform. Given the relative low uptake of VR hmd’s comparatively to PC and game console use, deriving massive profits isn’t the goal here, it’s a hedge for the future.

  • mellott124

    How does it compare to Skyrim using Vorpx? People have been playing Skyrim in VR for some time. I’m hoping the mechanics are better now.

    • NobleBrutus

      The difference will be colossal. VorpX is clever but can’t come close to a game designed or redesigned for VR. The biggest thing to notice with Skyrim is the free hand movement allowing for spell casting and sword fighting and bow usage with ultimate immersion.

      • GreasyMullet

        I was about to ask if the hand movements were free or locked in place. Since Skyrim does not really care where you hit your foes and hit counts. I wonder if you can swing faster perhaps without pulling all the way back? How does a power hit work?

    • sirlance

      vorpx sucks dont bother

    • d0x360

      The difference will be significant.

      Vorpx uses alpha channels to calculate depth and simulate a vr experience. It works as well as Nvidia 3s vision for games that weren’t designed for 3d. It’s passable but if you are using to real VR it’s just not the same.

      • Uh, no, Vorpx doesn’t. Skyrim works in geometry mode in Vorpx, with full 3D… it’s one of the best-supported Vorpx games.

        But you’re right that a real VR Skyrim will be significantly better. Vorpx has to hook into the rendering and render every frame twice, which is hugely CPU-intensive. A real VR game can use a much more efficient render pipeline. And the motion controllers will sure beat using the keyboard and mouse to swing a sword.

  • djmyernos

    I’m very glad they’re working on locomotion with the Move controllers, that is fantastic news!

  • Nathan Maxtro

    Can you change the camera from 1st to 3rd person? Movement is fine in VR if you are playing 3rd person. Otherwise your are stuck with the stupid teleportation movement if you are stuck in 1st.

    • Kyle Morrison

      That is not how this works. That is not how any of this works.

  • Geralt Rivia

    So the game with a shitty magic visuals and system gets VR? Here I thought it was underwhelming on my 22″ can’t imaging how depressed I’d get if I saw it in VR. Lets be honest here, without mods Skyrim is really mediocre. Those who say otherwise haven’t played it with mods yet. Could be worse I guess…could be FO4 VR! Oh wait…

    • Multiplataformgamerz

      being a person who tried the best “mods” on skyrim, most of them beautiful and “interesting” they got my atention, at most, for an hour, then i played the vanilla quests and stuff like always. Even that big house mod (glitchy as it could ever be) which in the end was good, didn’t get my attention for long, and barely revisited it, since my adopted sons keep disappearing and my wife never got to live there. Did i talk about the glitchy real-lightning mods and dragons of tamriel? if anything, what i really remember from this game on PC is the vanilla game, and the caliente mods…

      • Bundy

        Not me. I ran the game with over 80 mods. I couldn’t imagine playing it vanilla.

      • Geralt Rivia

        Really depends on how you mod and your system. However I still stand by my comment. Vanilla Skyrim is just meh. While I think nothing beats the Midas Spells mod for Oblivion (his Skyrim mod was meh compared to those of course its also been a while since I’ve delved into Skyrim…waiting for script extender for the new updated version) they are still better than the boring spell casting that has plagued ES games for a while. Even Morrowind was kinda me in visuals but the variety and power was still better than Oblivion and Skyrim.

  • Klaus Bantzer

    two annotations: In my country I can preorder the game, release date is set to 20.12. But maybe it is just a placeholder.
    I totally agree, that the real beauty of scyrim only unfolds with mods, but the new enhanced edition is also pretty nice. But the sad news ist, that the VR versions seams to be built form the vanilla game, so I expect realy poor visuals.

  • Jonny

    “Interestingly, Fallout 4 VR is currently only slated for the HTC Vive.” No, it’s slated for SteamVR.

  • GarynTX

    When I first heard of the oculus in 2012. This game was the first game to come to mind. And after 4 years, only months away.

    • Tyler Whitehead

      Wanna try that math again?

      • Jeffrey Byers

        It’s coming Q4 2017 for PS4. That’s “months” away. I can’t find a PC release, but I assume it would be in 2018.

        • Caven

          2017-2012 = 5

  • It’s happening: VR is starting to get all these hundreds of hours, massive open-world games. Everything the naysayers ignorantly asserted was a problem with VR is steadily and surely being eliminated. VR is here to stay, it is the future of gaming and entertainment, and only ignorant people, who almost certainly haven’t player modern VR, are still claiming otherwise.

  • MaeseDude

    The only concern I have is about framerate. I mean Skyrim has never been well-known for rock-solid framerates. Also, how will this version deal with mod support… if there is any support for mods at all. Nevertheless, I’m very excited for this!

  • Markus Sande

    Why didn’t this person write about motion sickness? Did he play enough to notice anything?

  • Izekyu

    >>”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 really hope that means that we will get the opportunity have the Move controller on your right hand and the Dualshock on your left, giving you access to Left stick, directional buttons and L1, L2.
    It also seems like a good option to use the DS4 as a shield. But then again it can prove challenging if you’re going to dual wield for example, given that the light bar doesn’t go around the DS4 controller.