Pete Hines Explains Why Fallout VR And Skyrim VR Are On Different Platforms

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Bethesda is slamming the gas pedal down on the studio’s adventure into the world of VR with the release of Fallout 4 VR, Skyrim VR and DOOM VFR this year. Bethesda’s Head of Marketing and PR, Pete Hines, talked to Player.One about why the company wants to experiment with VR, why the price of the VR games are what they are and how mods will be coming to VR.

“VR is something that the studio had been interested in looking at and working on. As they looked at it, they felt they would be able to take things they had already done and bring it over whole cloth to VR,” Hines told Player.One at this year’s QuakeCon.

While it seems like Skyrim is playable on just about every platform, there’s a reason for this. According to Hines, Bethesda’s knowledge of Skyrim and Fallout 4 allow developers to work on a familiar game when working on a new experience like VR.

“The benefit there is they can work on these things and gain knowledge in VR and see what bringing immersive games like Fallout 4 and Skyrim into VR is like without requiring some or most or all the studio to create something that’s brand new,” he said. “If you look at the hundreds of hours of play that our games offer, it allowed them to just focus on the UI, the UX and the performance without having to worry about the gameplay or art.”

It was this focus on getting comfortable with the different VR platforms that led to limited releases. Fallout 4 VR will be exclusive to the HTC Vive while Skyrim VR will only be available on PS4.

“Shipping something on one platform is going to teach you some things that will be applicable to others, but at the same time there’s always going to be differences,” said Hines. “It’s far easier to have one game on a single platform than try and have it on multiple because the problems you might be trying to solve on one don’t necessarily apply to the other. As things go faster, you can iterate more quickly.”

If you’re wondering why Fallout 4 VR is focusing on PC and Skyrim VR is on PSVR, the reason isn’t very clear, other than the decision felt right for Bethesda. “We looked at both and Skyrim just felt like a better fit for PSVR. A lot of the reasons are behind the scenes things, technical stuff in terms of fidelity, and how much they were each trying to do,” Hines said. “It felt like Fallout 4 as a PC title was a better fit for that game and Skyrim for PS4.”

Both Skyrim VR and Fallout 4 VR will be full-priced releases. While many may cry foul that the VR version of a game should be included when you’ve already bought a standard copy, Hines argues that these are completely new and different platforms. However, expect to see price drops at some point as well.

“VR requires a PC or a PS4, but it’s still an entirely brand new thing we had to build. We’re really treating them like separate platforms,” said Hines. “We’ll see post-launch what we do with pricing. We always do sales and whatever else. At the end of the day, the market will dictate what the right price point is.”

Bethesda’s games are known for embracing player mods, however the VR versions may be a departure. Official mod support isn’t planned for launch, and may not be coming at all. “I honestly have no idea,” Hines said about mods ever making it to a VR headset. “I genuinely don’t know if that’s a thing that will ever happen, or if users will find a way to put them on themselves.”

As for his personal excitement towards VR gaming as a whole, Hines says he is biased because he gets motion sickness easily. “I think it ultimately will be down to the individual and how they like to experience games,” he said. “I don’t think the average gamer will completely abandon traditional games to only play VR.”

Fallout 4 VR will release for the HTC Vive on Dec. 12. Skyrim VR will release for the PSVR on Nov. 17.

So what do you think? Are you excited to explore Tamriel or The Commonwealth in virtual reality? Will you hold off for a price drop before buying another copy of a game you already own? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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