Bethesda’s Todd Howard Predicts VR Will Take Off In The ‘Third Generation’

Bethesda’s Todd Howard Predicts VR Will Take Off In The ‘Third Generation’

While plenty of interesting new VR apps are being released by the week, it’s no secret that the wider world doesn’t see VR as a huge success story just yet. But one of the makers of VR’s biggest games isn’t worried right now.

In fact Todd Howard, Executive Producer and Game Director over at Bethesda Softworks, expects it to take a little longer for VR to hit the mainstream. Speaking at the Gamelab developer conference in Spain last week (as reported by VentureBeat), Howard spoke a little about his thoughts on the future of VR.

“I’m a little more VR than AR [augmented reality],” Howard told a crowd. “We did Fallout and Skyrim in VR. We’re just about to enter the second generation of VR. Historically, the third generation is where it starts to become popular.”

It’s interesting to hear Howard refer to where the industry is at now as the beginning of the second generation of VR. Many VR enthusiasts would argue that the arrival of Bethesda’s high-quality ports of Skyrim and Fallout 4 in VR hailed the arrival of the second generation, but perhaps these are first-generation titles in Howard’s mind. Perhaps the real question, though, is how long will it take to get to that third generation Howard predicts will help the tech take off, and what game and/or hardware will signal its arrival?

Bethesda has another VR game on the way in the form of The Elder Scrolls: Blades, though it’s set to hit mobile platforms first. The company’s wider publishing efforts are also bringing out Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot and a VR update for Prey in the coming months, so there’s plenty more to look forward to from the studio.

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Todd Howard: Bethesda Is ‘Trying To Put All Of Fallout 4 In VR’

Todd Howard: Bethesda Is ‘Trying To Put All Of Fallout 4 In VR’

A few months ago we interviewed Bethesda’s VP of Marketing, Pete Hines, about the company’s ambitions and plans for virtual reality — including Fallout 4. He was decidedly cautious and was careful not to say too much, a sentiment that’s often reflected throughout Bethesda’s senior leadership, and is a big reason why they maintain such a strong fan base as a publisher and developer. They tend not to over-promise and often over-deliver.

During that interview, Hines stated that Fallout 4 VR was not going to be a small vertical slice of the experience, or an abbreviated version of the blockbuster title. Instead, he said it would be, “a standalone VR version of Fallout 4. It’s the entire game.”

Yesterday, in an interview with Glixel, Todd Howard, Bethesda’s prolific game designer, echoes the same sentiment, stating that they “definitely are” creating the entirety of Fallout 4 in VR. Howard is the creative powerhouse mind behind The Elder Scrolls IV and V, Oblivion and Skyrim respectively, as well as Fallout 3 and Fallout 4. 

When asked if they were “trying to put all of Fallout 4 in VR”, he goes on to say:

We definitely are. The core experience, meaning you put on the headset and you’re standing in the world of Fallout and can go where you want, just that little bit is every bit as cool as you hope it would be. Once we did that, we were like, “OK, we gotta see where this goes.”

We’re not so worried about how many we’re going to sell or what the market is. That will all sort itself out. We have an opportunity to make something really unique. We’d rather do that than make some other tiny experience. I don’t think that’s what people want from us.

When we went hands-on with Fallout 4 VR back at E3 this year, we came away cautiously optimistic for the future. The build we saw used a teleportation-based movement system, which is the commonly used format, but it doesn’t translate to the action-packed open-world atmosphere for Fallout very well. Hopefully next time we see the game in action, it will be even more polished and primed with a better locomotion solution.

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