It's clear that Bethesda is going to squeeze every last dollar it can out of Skyrim. A bunch of those will come from the VR port of the open-world RPG, which we haven't seen much of since E3 earlier this year. This weekend's Quakecon was Bethesda chance to demo a build and dispel some of the cynicism surrounding it. Unfortunately, reports suggest it failed. Hard.
George Weidman, proprietor of YouTube channel Super Bunnyhop, came away from the experience with little in the way of pleasant thoughts.
Also, for those who are concerned: my experience with the Skyrim VR demo was a hot mess. An utterly complete dumpster fire of a VR port.
— Chairman George (@superbunnyhop) August 25, 2017
Weidman elaborates in a series of self-replies:
The movement is all wrong. Handled via teleporter. You blink in and out of existence. A relaxing immersive walk through Skyrim is impossible ... The combat is all wrong. Handled via a waggling sword and an unlimited point-and-forget flamethrower. Enemy AI not adjusted for new controls ... Adding insult to injury, it looks like they had to lower all the settings to "garbage mode" to get it working in VR.
"DreamcastGuy" Max Shockley was a little more positive, but his overall impression was a sour one. In particular, the more restrictive nature of VR controls appears to have forced Bethesda to adopt Mook Chivalry for enemies:
[In the non-VR version] when you're going through the wilderness, you'll get jumped by 10 bandits. That is not at all the case anymore — every single enemy I saw fought me one-on-one ... it was super, super simplified; the world was basically empty.
Shockley's conclusion questions Bethesda's target audience, going so far as to say the developer should call the game Elder Scrolls VR because "this is not Skyrim".
Now, all the standard caveats apply when talking about an in-development game. The bad news for Bethesda is that the caveats don't fly as well when you consider the port is due out November 17, giving the studio about two months to get the title into shape.
Perhaps, just perhaps, the situation will change in those seven weeks. But it's really, really hard to be optimistic.