Fallout 4, Xbox One X, PS VR and more
E3 2017 is upon us, and once again virtual reality is a hot topic of the world’s biggest gaming show. Last year we saw a range of announcements and demos, and we’re already off to a great start in 2017.
Between new hardware and backing from some of the biggest developers, VR is maturing at E3 2017, and we’re rounding up all the big announcements so far. We’ll be attending all the big press conferences and checking out the best E3 has to offer, so keep coming back as we update this page.
For now, here’s what we’ve learned and seen so far…
Microsoft reveals its VR-ready Xbox One X
Back when Microsoft’s Project Scorpio console was first teased, we were told that VR was on the cards, and Bethesda even said it would be bringing Fallout 4 to the souped-up console. Since then, the VR chat has been quiet, and while Microsoft finally revealed the Xbox One X (no longer Scorpio) at E3, it stayed quiet on VR plans. We’re hoping that things are all full steam ahead, especially with PS VR having now shifted north of a million headsets, giving Sony quite the lead in the console VR space.
Microsoft promised Mixed Reality VR on Xbox for 2018, so it still has time up its sleeve and we’re hoping it clarifies its plan for getting VR into the living room very soon.
Fallout 4 VR is out this year
Bethesda is the current frontrunner for Best VR Announcement of E3 2017, lifting the lid on not one but two fully-fleshed virtual reality titles for the HTC Vive. First up we have Fallout 4 VR, a virtual reality version of the post-apocalyptic open-world game that looks like it won’t skimp on breadth or depth. It will however replace the controller with the Vive wands, meaning you’ll actually get a Pip-Boy on your virtual wrist. Neat. We think this could be a big deal for VR. AMD’s corporate VP Roy Taylor recently told MCV that Fallout 4 VR “will change the way we think about VR”. Big words.
And Doom is getting the VR treatment too
Second, we got a look at Doom VFR – because those gratuitous blood splattering effects aren’t enough unless we actually feel like it’s running down our faces. There’s no release date on this one but we know it will be this year, and as well as the Vive it’ll be hitting the PS VR. For this and Fallout 4 VR our first question is about how movement will work, and that’s something we’ll be able to answer once we’ve tried them out later this week.
Also, Doom is nauseating enough without a headset, so it will be interesting to see if Bethesda has got it working in a way that won’t make us hurl.
Intel makes its eSports play
We know eSports and VR are finding a match, and at E3 Intel announced a partnership with the Electronic Sports League (ESL) and Oculus for an eSports league dedicated to VR. The VR Challenger League will include two games, The Unspoken and a multiplayer mode to Lone Echo, both of which were made for competitive gaming. There’ll be a $200,000 prize pool, with the finals taking place at the Intel Extreme Masters in 2018.
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. The eSports scene is accelerating fast but it’s still early days for VR, which is still working through various technological teething problems, so whether it’s ready for eSports adoption remains to be seen.
Skyrim comes to PS VR
Fallout 4 and Doom weren’t the only Bethesda title getting a VR makeover. At Sony’s press conference it revealed that Skyrim will be coming to PS VR, and given the game’s sustaining popularity we reckon this one is going to be a hit. It’ll be out this November and include all of the previous Skyrim add-ons.
We have plenty of questions, like how will we actually move around? This is a vast open-world exploration game, remember, though we presume it’ll be using the same mechanic as Fallout 4 VR. This also marks two big Bethesda games on Sony’s headset, as Doom VFR will also make its way across. Sadly, it looks like Fallout 4 will be Vive only. But hey, Skyrim!
PS VR gets games, games, games
As we predicted, Sony went big on VR at E3. In fact, it dedicated a fairly good chunk of the press conference to show off a varying range of new VR titles beyond Skyrim. Most intriguing was The Inpatient, a first-person horror game from Until Dawn: Rush of Blood studio Supermassive Games. Star Child is a sci-fi side-scroller about a boy and a giant but friendly robot, while Bravo Team is a shooter that we’d bet will support the new PS VR Aim controller. There was also a game about a sword-wielding mouse (told you it was diverse) called Moss, which looks strangely calming, while Final Fantasy: Monsters of the Deep brings a new, erm, fishing element to the RPG. It’s not clear if this will include the shooting mini-game we’d previously seen.
Overall, it was a solid showing from Sony that reaffirmed its commitment to virtual reality. Just as well, as those PS VR headsets are selling quite nicely…
And what we’re still predicting…
Meatier games for the Oculus Rift
This one’s cheating a bit because Oculus already told us it’s not going to have a booth at the show, but we know there will still be a few games to try out. Now that the Oculus Rift has well and truly arrived with Touch, it needs to be all about the games, games, games, and we hope we’ll be walking away from E3 knowing that we’ve got more titles like Robo Recall to look forward.
We actually start seeing some cool mainstream AR
AR was already heating up, but after Apple’s AR announcement at WWDC 2017 we expect it to start heading mainstream. VR is the most obvious fit for traditional gaming, but AR will have its part to play too, as will mixed reality, and we’re hoping that these start seeping into the big shows. Maybe we need to wait another year, but it would be cool to see some fun ideas over in LA.