2017 was a landmark year for virtual reality (VR), with not only the hardware maturing but also a number of huge entertainment properties making their way to the medium. Leading the charge was Bethesda Softworks, with adaptations of three of their most popular videogame experiences. Now, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2018, the publisher has confirmed three more titles are on their way, and this time VR is coming closer to home.
The first VR title confirmed at this year’s event was a brand new standalone experience set within the Wolfenstein universe, Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot. Following a fashion similar to DOOM VFR, Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot takes place two decades since the events of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. It expands on the storyline presented within the bloodline titles while casting the player in a new role: in this case, a fire-breathing Panzerhund and other familiar war machines. The second title, an expansion to 2017’s Prey reboot, presents an interesting new competitive mode, playable against non-VR players. Set to be offered as part of the with Prey: Mooncrash update later this year, Prey – Typhon Hunter pits one player against several others cast as Mimics with nothing more than survival being the objective.
An additional new gameplay mode coming to Prey offers a single-player escape room scenario, called TranStar VR. As one of several TranStar employees the player will be faced with finding a solution for puzzles laid out ahead of them in different environments from the Talos I space station.
While these all sound like incredibly enticing gameplay opportunities and potentially huge boons to the entertainment side of VR, the third title is undoubtedly the most interesting. Presented as a videogame built for smartphones, The Elder Scrolls: Blades is apparently coming to every conceivable format; including consoles, PC and VR. In fact, according to Todd Howard, Director and Executive Producer at Bethesda Game Studios, it would appear that The Elder Scrolls: Blades will hit ‘most every head-mounted display (HMD) aside from PlayStation VR.
“This is an Elder Scrolls game that you can play however and wherever you want,” stated Howard during Bethesda Softworks’ pre-E3 press conference yesterday. “And we are going to bring Blades to every device and system we can; phones, PCs, consoles, also virtual reality on mobile, all the way up to high-end VR on PCs.”
That is of course not confirmation that The Elder Scrolls: Blades won’t launch on PlayStation VR, but the wording seems very specific. Time will tell on that front.
Right now however, what we do know is that with The Elder Scrolls: Blades, VR is being treated as part of the standardised array of formats. Players will be able to enjoy playing The Elder Scrolls: Blades on their smartphone against players in VR, or on their console with VR players. Exactly how this will play out is not yet known, but the fact that one of the biggest videogame producers in the world is looking at VR as a peer to smartphone, console and PC gaming is undoubtedly an exciting takeaway from this year’s E3.
But given last year’s successful VR push it’s no wonder Bethesda Softworks are looking to bring more titles to VR. The publisher has quickly become synonymous with some of the most exciting and enduring experiences available through the relatively youthful medium and in 2018 will be looking to cement that position way ahead of the maturing of VR for mainstream audiences. There’s still a chance that Ubisoft might pull something out of the bag during their pre-E3 press conference later today, but as things stand Bethesda Softworks are looking to take home not only the E3 mantel for VR, but also 2018 as a whole.