During the recent Connect 2021 event, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas would be ported to play in virtual reality. Even if you're not a GTA fan, this could mark an intriguing trend all gamers will care about: the Quest 2 could grant second lives to tons of video game classics.
Most recently, the beloved action horror game Resident Evil 4 was converted from third-person to first-person for VR on the Quest 2, and it arguably plays better with motion controls than it ever did with traditional controls. People have also modded classic FPSs like Half-Life, Doom, and Quake 2 to work through SideQuest.
With this latest GTA announcement, my mind began spinning with all the possibilities. The Quest 2's limited mobile hardware and storage space possibly can't handle more modern games, but it appears games from the Gamecube/ PS2/ Xbox era (or earlier) could be fair game. The Quest 2 could become the console to re-experience our all-time favorites from a new first-person perspective, fully immersed in the boots of our favorite video game heroes.
Sony and Valve will keep any VR rereleases on the PSVR 2 and Valve Index, while Nintendo will not likely put its games on other consoles. But other game studios could decide to license out their vault of gems in exchange for Meta money. So what other classic games — first- or third-person — could work as Oculus Quest 2 games? Here are some promising options tailor-made for VR, from perfect fits to long-shots.
Silent Hill 2
The story: James Sunderland returns to Silent Hill after receiving a letter from his wife, previously assumed dead. There, his fears and guilt manifest as dangerous creatures, such as the iconic Pyramid Head.
Elevator pitch for why it needs a VR port: It's surprising how few good horror VR games exist on the Quest 2. Silent Hill 2 would immediately fill that niche with its iconic storyline peppered with frightening monsters to keep things tense throughout. Resident Evil 4 has already proved that a third-person game converted into first-person not only can work, but also can make a game even scarier. The foggy setting could also make it easier for the Quest 2 to render.
Similar VR game out now: Wraith: The Oblivion - Afterlife: A terrifying game starring a half-dead photographer searching for clues in a haunted mansion.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
The story: In the heart of the Cold War, Naked Snake must prevent World War III by defeating his mentor, Revolver Ocelot, and the Cobra Unit while destroying a dangerous weapon.
Elevator pitch: The best Metal Gear game (fight me), MGS 3, is designed for methodical VR gameplay, from treating wounds to CQC to its first-person aiming system for shooting foes. Stealth- and cover-based gameplay can be tricky for first-person, but this game will force you to crouch-walk so much that you'll end up fit as hell by the time you reach the dramatic ending. Like RE4, it could place the codec calls in a 3D environment, so you don't feel trapped staring at a 2D screen of people talking for too long. And remember the theory that MGS 3 is a VR simulation? How meta would that be?
Similar VR game: Espire 1: VR Operative, a stealth-based game in which you tranquilize or hold up guards at gunpoint, avoid detection, and hide bodies. Sound familiar?
Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
The plot: Set after Return of the Jedi, Jedi Outcast sees ex-Jedi Kyle Katarn face off against the Imperial Remnant and a Sith cult. He must remaster the Force and defeat deadly foe Desaan.
Elevator pitch: Jedi Outcast's gunplay uses first-person and could easily translate to VR, while you could change up the lightsaber combat to work in first-person as well. Of all the Star Wars games before Jedi: Fallen Order, the Jedi Knight series best captured the gameplay feeling of being a Jedi. In VR, you could add to the game's difficulty level by having to reflect stormtrooper bolts yourself and learn different lightsaber techniques to match up against different foes. It'd immediately become one of the best Oculus Quest 2 games and an instant hit.
Similar VR game: Vader Immortal, which is also about mastering the Jedi arts of lightsaber combat and the Force. The difference is it's more of an on-rails experience, while Jedi Outcast would have you move about freely.
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
The plot: NSA stealth operative Sam Fisher must find information necessary to prevent tension between North Korea, China, Japan, and the United States from sparking World War III.
Elevator pitch: It isn't just the Tom Clancy-esque plot full of intrigue and twists similar to MGS. It has stealth gameplay, close-quarters interrogation of foes, hiding bodies, tougher fights after alerts are triggered, a non-lethal silenced pistol, and other resemblances. It should also convert well to first-person, with the multi-vision goggles enhancing your vision. Plus, the co-op campaign would give you seven original missions to enjoy with a friend.
Similar VR game: Phantom: Covert Ops, which also has you preventing war by sneaking behind enemy lines to take out foes, either lethally or non-lethally.
The plot: Augmented UNATCO agent JC Denton discovers conspiracies involving the Illuminati, Area 51, and superpowered AI in a world ravaged by a deadly pandemic before determining the future of the world.
Elevator pitch: I'd really love to see Deus Ex: Human Revolution in this slot, but it's way too graphically intense for the Quest 2. So we'll "settle" for one of the most acclaimed games of all time, even if it's very low-res by today's standards. Unlike other picks, this one is first-person by design and could be a blast playing VR. Certain gameplay elements like lock-picking and hacking would need to be revamped for VR controls, but this game should otherwise translate well to the platform.
Similar VR games: It doesn't have a proper equivalent for its gameplay and conspiracy-theory plot, though Lone Echo II and Half-Life: Alyx prove there's plenty of room for compelling sci-fi stories in VR.
Star Wars: Republic Commando
The plot: As captain of Delta Squad, you (RC-1138) lead clone troopers on a series of missions during the Clone Wars, culminating in the battle on Kashyyyk seen in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.
Elevator pitch: A first-person tactical shooter beloved by Star Wars fans, Republic Commando still holds up today with decent graphics, challenging combat, and squadmates you'll care about. You could find a way to use hand tracking to signal your squadmates as you do in the game, or even give vocal commands now that Oculus is adding better voice SDK support in-game.
Similar VR game: Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge and its Last Call DLC are the obvious comparisons here, with great shooting mechanics and a solid anthology of stories in the Star Wars universe.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
The plot: Tasked to carry the Amulet of Kings by the Emperor before his death, you become the only hope in stopping the destruction of the world by the Oblivion dimension and the apocalyptic Mythic Dawn cult.
Elevator pitch: Despite its massive open world and full voice acting, Oblivion's download size is still less than 10GB. Playable in first-person, Oblivion would hopefully translate well into VR — as Skyrim did for its PSVR port — with last-gen graphics that the Quest 2's processor can hopefully handle. But it's originally an Xbox 360/ PS3 game, which may make it more difficult of a transition than the other picks on our list.
Similar VR games: Aside from Skyrim VR, OrbusVR: Reborn is a fantasy RPG worth exploring, while Until You Fall has brutally difficult hack-and-slash gameplay you'll enjoy.
Ninja Gaiden Black
The plot: Ninja Ryu Hayabusa goes on a journey of revenge after his village is destroyed, seeking to retrieve his clan's Dark Dragon Blade by any means necessary.
Elevator pitch: Gameplay-wise, this pick is more of a stretch than the others. The game's notorious difficulty and fast foes would only be compounded by a switch to first-person, which gives you less perspective to spot and dodge attacks easily. But Ninja Gaiden's swordplay, projectiles, and ninpo spells would make combat a blast in VR, and it could actually prove a great roomscale experience for people willing to sprint around their living room to dodge attacks.
Similar VR game: Sairento VR has you play as a triple-jumping cyber ninja that parkours around stages, using similar weapons and techniques as Ryu.
The plot: Become a rock star!
Elevator pitch: This pitch is entirely based on how good Unplugged is. It's a Guitar Hero-style game that uses hand tracking to play an invisible air guitar, so you no longer need a giant plastic accessory to get your rock on. Now that we know the concept works, we can hope Harmonix (which already made solid exercise VR game Dance Central) will partner with Oculus Studios again and revive its classic franchise on the Quest 2, complete with popular licensed music.
Similar VR games: Unplugged, as previously mentioned. Harmonix also previously made Rock Band VR in 2016, and Riff VR for Viveport also attempted to recreate the rock experience in VR. But there's tons of room for improvement since those early attempts.
The plot: Andrew Ryan's Objectivist "paradise" is overrun with violent citizens addicted to genetic superpowers and the brutish Big Daddies. So would you kindly assist the revolutionary Atlas as he fights to defeat Ryan and save Rapture?
Elevator pitch: Like Oblivion, this 2007 game might be too much for the Quest 2 hardware, but without actually knowing its limits, I include it as an older game that would work stunningly well in VR. Fighting Big Daddies in close-quarters combat would be incredibly tense, while having to choose to harvest Little Sisters with your own hands would make the decision more challenging for renegade playthroughs.
Similar VR game: There's actually a Bioshock VR mod made using the Half-Life: Alyx game engine.
A classic game reimagined for VR
Become Leon S. Kennedy
Armature Studios converted Resident Evil 4 into first-person, and it controls so well that you'll think it was always meant for virtual reality. This awesome Quest 2-exclusive port breathes new life into an all-time classic and hopefully signals the future of the Oculus gaming library.
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Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.