Update 3: We’ve now tried it for ourselves and can confirm Doom VFR now works with the Oculus Rift.
Update 2: An update to the SteamVR Beta notes “added placeholder hidden area mesh for Rift users as a work around for Doom VFR and other titles experiencing launch issues.” We’re frankly not sure what that means, but it suggests the failure of Doom VFR to launch on Rift is a temporary bug and not related to the ZeniMax lawsuit.
Earlier story below:
The burning question at the top of every Oculus Rift owner’s mind ever since E3 this year has been: Will DOOM VFR and Fallout 4 VR work on the Oculus Rift, natively, through Steam? Bethesda has been careful with their language ever since these games were announced and the Store pages clearly list only HTC Vive. But now, at long last, we finally have the answer to the first half of that question: No, it does not appear that you can play DOOM VFR with an Oculus Rift, at least at this moment.
After we published our full review of the PSVR edition of the game, Bethesda sent us a download code for the Steam version. Officially, the Steam Store Page only lists HTC Vive as a supported headset and it looks like that was intentional.
Anyone that’s tried playing a Vive game with a Rift successfully in the past probably assumed it would “just work” with the Rift, but we’ve found otherwise. When I load the game up on my Vive I get a series of splash screens and logos, photosentitivity warnings, and a loading screen. After that the main menu appears. When I try it using my Oculus Rift however, the game boots me back to the SteamVR Home space in between the loading screen and the main menu.
It never finishes launching the game.
Update: We’ve tested the same version of Doom VFR with a Lenovo Windows-based VR headset and it worked. The analog stick does nothing but the trackpad works just as it does on Vive. If you decide you want to try this with a Windows-based VR headset you need a VR Ready PC with high-end specifications, at least for now.
We’ve reached out to Bethesda for a comment, but to understand the situation you have to know that Bethesda’s parent company, ZeniMax, is currently undergoing an ugly legal battle with Oculus’s parent company, Facebook. We’ve covered that case and ensuing trial plenty but we don’t know if that was a contributing factor to preventing Rift access to the game. Ideally, support will arrive sooner rather than later. And the community will undoubtedly try hacking a solution together if an official one isn’t supported.
Back when the Rift was on Kickstarter and John Carmack still worked at Id (which is also owned by ZeniMax), a modified version of Doom 3: BFG was originally promised as a title to be shipped with the Oculus Rift. But the game never came to Rift officially and Carmack took his VR expertise to Oculus and became their chief technology officer. ZeniMax eventually sued. From our report covering the verdict in the case earlier this year:
The legal battle between ZeniMax Media and Oculus VR has a verdict from the jury. In the first of many questions put to the jury, they decided Oculus did not misappropriate trade secrets.
The jury, however, also decided that Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey failed to comply with a non-disclosure agreement he signed, as did Oculus by extension. Oculus and its co-founders Luckey and Iribe were found to owe ZeniMax $500 million as a result of copyright infringement and “false designation.” We’ve uploaded the full 90-page document the jury filled out here.
Have you tried playing DOOM VFR on a Rift yet? Let us know down in the comments below! We will continue updating this story once we find out more.
Note: Additional context added regarding the legal battle between Oculus and Bethesda parent company ZeniMax. Also added that we tested it successfully with Windows VR.