If the next game in the Elder Scrolls fantasy RPG franchise, The Elder Scrolls 6, is going to include a virtual reality mode, it's essential that developers at Bethesda Softworks draw inspiration from the best VR titles currently on the market while also learning from the strong and weak points of Skyrim VR and other VR titles they've released. Fortunately, there's many ways developers can use VR to enhance the Elder Scrolls experience.
There's little information on Elder Scrolls 6 at the moment since development reportedly won't start until after the release of Bethesda's new IP, the upcoming science fiction Starfield RPG. Currently, fans of the Elder Scrolls series have two big hints to work with: a brief cinematic trailer showing an arid, mountainous coastline, and the name "Redfall," a trademark title that Bethesda filed for back in 2018. Based on these clues, many theorize that Elder Scrolls VI will take place in Hammerfell, home to the Redguard people and the enlightened warrior-saints known as "Swordsingers."
2017's Skyrim VR was an adaptation of the wildly successful series entry Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to virtual reality, which let Bethesda test out VR technology for their next generation of games. Despite technical glitches and dated graphics, both Skyrim VR and the VR version of Fallout 4 literally added a new dimension to these games for fans while also highlighting the potential of an Elder Scrolls VI game built from the ground-up to work with VR.
In many respects, the original Skyrim works well for VR: with the two-handed control scheme players can pick up two objects at once, fire off rapid volleys from their bow, and shoot two blasts of magic from their hands at different targets. Similarly, the lush environments of Skyrim pop out with more depth through a VR view.
A VR Elder Scrolls VI game will go far by retaining these entertaining features... particularly if they improve the object collision mechanics to reward players for realistic movements (no more damaging foes by wiggling a sword like a feather duster, for instance). Additionally, if the game does end up taking place in Hammerfell, Bethesda would be wise to make it look as colorful and vibrant as possible.
Newer games released after Skyrim VR have refined the interactivity of Virtual Reality, letting players affect the world more realistically. Two games in particular will be essential resources for Bethesda developers looking to make a VR version of the Elder Scrolls VI, and both of them are memorable for different reasons. Blade and Sorcery, an arena battle game released in 2018, lets player wield swords, spears, and shields with artful technique, blocking and parrying enemy attacks. Half-Life: Alyx, recently released this March, pushed the limits of VR technology with a gripping story campaign, thrilling environments, and three-dimensional puzzle solving.
Blade and Sorcery and Half-Life: Alyx happen to share a common gameplay feature: players in both games can summon weapons and objects to their grasp using a method which basically amounts to telekinesis, a literal 'handy' ability which keeps players from needing to crouch or backtrack through levels. Similar game mechanics could minimize player discomfort in a VR Elder Scrolls VI, and could easily be justified narratively by...
If Elder Scrolls VI, as some suspect, focuses on the region of Hammerfell and their legendary "Swordsingers," Bethesda Softworks can integrate their game's story with VR by making certain useful gameplay features a function of the main character's abilities. The ubiquitous VR ability to teleport across a room, for instance, could be a version of the magic "Mark" and "Recall" spell, while summoning weapons to their hand could be the player's own unique power. Additionally, an epic fantasy story where the player character saves Hammerfell by learning the ways of the "Swordsingers" would blend perfectly with the player's own quest to master weapon techniques using VR controls.
The importance of integrating gameplay with narrative is the most important part of any video game, and doubly so with VR. A successful VR version of The Elder Scrolls VI will need to be both innovative and polished, including mechanics which lets players bypass the current limitations of VR while exploiting the new options it offers.
Source: PC Gamer