Twice now VRFocus has visited the barren wastelands of the Fallout franchise to talk about what could be for virtual reality (VR). Bethesda Softworks’ open worlds are some of the most eagerly requested locations to explore with a head-mounted display (HMD) such as an Oculus Rift, with modders and enthusiasts going to great lengths to get this week’s Fallout 4 working with the technology. But, while we’ve looked forward with the franchise before, we’ve never really paid tribute to its past.
Fallout took a long hiatus before the third title in the main series, Fallout 3, radically retooled it into the first-person experience we know today. The first Fallout and its sequel, Fallout 2, were released in 1997 and 1998 respectively and, aside from setting and name, couldn’t be more different from the newer entries. Instead, these titles were much closer to developer Interplay Productions’ original post-apocalyptic adventure, Wasteland, which also received a sequel last year.
Instead of first-person action, these titles were third-person and focused much more on strategy. In VR, we could easily see this being transformed into a sort of tabletop experience in which players are given a full view of the map thanks to head-tracking. Characters could essentially become virtual figures that we could march out to fight the Radscorpions and Super Mutants, with these games coming to life by seeing your orders carried out with visceral consequences. Imagine being able to lean down into the battle to inspect an enemy for weak points in armour, or search for ideal vantage points for snipers.
VR could allow for a whole new control system for these turn-based battles, allowing players to simply point at where they want characters to move to or who they want them to attack using head-tracking tech. It could go that step closer to making combat a much more fluid experience, and position-tracked controllers such as Oculus Touch could also allow players to navigate an interface in a much more natural way.
More than anything, though, we’d love to see VR bring the worlds of Fallout and Wasteland to life like never before. Get a view of the makeshift towns, vaults and raiders camps from a bird’s eye perspective would inject an ironic sense of life into the apocalypse. Meeting the array of colourful characters and having them feel like actual living humans/mutants/dogs instead of models on a screen would be utterly compelling.
Fallout is a huge franchise with many possibilities for VR. Its strategy RPG days may be in the past, but at least Wasteland has returned to carry on that legacy. Perhaps if another sequel is on the cards, VR might player a part in it.