'Halo' and 'Alien: Isolation' VR Modder Joins Microsoft's 343 Industries – Road to VR
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Zack “Nibre” Fannon, the creator behind VR mods for Alien: Isolation and Halo Master Chief Collection (MCC), has been hired by 343 Industries, the studio in charge of the Halo franchise.
Fannon announced the change in his Twitter profile recently, which was first noticed over on the ResetEra forums. He now lists himself as an Engineer working on Halo MCC at 343 Industries, a property of Xbox Game Studios.
This comes nearly one year after Fannon went mostly radio silent with updates to the Halo mod ‘ReclaimerVR’, which seeks to bring unofficial VR support to the entire MMC (Halo 1–4 on PC).
Back in early 2020, Fannon attracted attention from the Halo studio in a profile piece, which may have been instrumental in his hiring. There, he revealed his long-term fascination with modding Halo, and ongoing pursuit of finally playing the classic Halo titles in VR.
I really, really wanted to play the classic Halo games in VR. At the time, I had just started developing things for the Oculus [Rift] DK1 and then DK2, so I was eager to virtually explore the colossal environments of Halo. This obviously wouldn’t be possible to do on the original games themselves, so I used what I was learning to start working on a makeshift Halo VR world-viewer, built with Unreal Engine 4. After working on it off-and-on for a year or two, I had a good proof-of-concept that worked with Halo 2 and Halo 3 maps, though it required a bit more pre-processing to get the data in a UE4 useable form than I’d like. It was a good experimental learning project to keep coming back to and improving on but wasn’t really prepared for a release yet.
Continuing, Fannon says he then found himself working on MotherVR for Alien: Isolation, which helped by teaching him how to reverse engineer a game from scratch, a skill he’d later user when tackling MCC when it was released on PC in 2019.
Fannon now says ReclaimerVR is however “on ice for the time being.” It’s uncertain whether he is developing VR for 343i, but if they’re looking for someone capable of porting the classic titles to VR, they’ve found the right person.
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