What Fallout 4 VR Can Learn From Skyrim And Doom VFR

by Jamie Feltham • December 5th, 2017

We’re just a week away now from the launch of arguably the biggest VR game of the year – Fallout 4 VR. Bethesda is cramming all of its epic RPG into the HTC Vive, letting us trek across the wasteland to fight mutants and monsters. But it’s far from Bethesda’s only VR game this year.

Just last week the company published Doom VFR on Vive and PSVR and, a few weeks before that, Skyrim VR graced PSVR. Both games have their own highs and lows and, while a few weeks before launch isn’t a great amount of time for course correcting, there are a few things Fallout 4 VR could definitely learn from the launches that preceded it. Let’s take a look at what they are.

Option Is Everything

This is undoubtedly the most important point to glean from both Skryim and especially Doom. Developing for VR is tricky because everyone has different preferences and tolerances. Some won’t be able to use smooth locomotion, because it makes them sick, while others might use this method but still need to quarter-turn. And, yes, some people are left-handed and feel unnatural when certain items and tasks are assigned to their right hand.

Whatever people’s preference, you need to make sure it’s catered for inside VR. It doesn’t matter if you think smooth locomotion makes people sick; you’ll have an army of angry fanboys at your door if you don’t include it. Vive’s trackpad might not be a great alternative to an analog stick, but that doesn’t mean people wouldn’t rather wrestle with that than resort to teleporting. The most important thing you can do in any VR game right now is give players the options to make the experience fit them.

Get UI Right The First Time

Neither Skyrim nor Doom have perfect UI implementation, but each does a few things better than the other. For starters, Skyrim as its UI elements floating, fixed in the world around you. That means they’re not always in front of you; you have to turn to see them. But, in Doom, objectives are locked to one side of the screen, and if you turn to look at them, they just move further away from you. It’s pretty annoying to say the least, and should absolutely be avoided in Fallout 4.

That said, Doom’s smart decision to show you where the PSVR camera is on your objective marker bar is a great decision and could be something Fallout 4 could benefit from too, just to give you your bearings in a room at all time. Bethesda also needs to steer clear of getting menus and UI caught in the environment and NPCs, which was recently fixed on Skyrim.

Dogmeat Is Your Greatest Asset

I’d be willing to bet that not a single person that walks into Riverwood for the first time in Skyrim VR doesn’t stop to admire the lovely old doggo that’s barking around at the back of town. There’s something about staring into the little chap’s loving eyes that is genuinely powerful, more so than a lot of the actual game. It’s just one of the many happy accidents you’ll discover in Skyrim VR but, in Fallout 4, you have a trusty companion at your side at all times.

We hadn’t really considered it up until this point, but Dogmeat may well be one of Fallout 4’s greatest assets. This is a game that already breeds a strong relationship between player and sidekick on a 2D screen, so the chance to make that link even stronger in VR is hugely promising. Bethesda would do well to really hone in on this and explore some new options that could bring Dogmeat to life more than ever before.

Let Rift Owners Play

Whatever happened last week, we’d recommend making sure Rift owners can jump in straight away, guys.

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