Back at E3 I saw the most impressive virtual reality demo of my life--Sega's Alien: Isolation running on the second-generation Oculus Rift developer kit. It was intense, to say the least. With nowhere to look away, nowhere to take a break from the claustrophobic corridors of the Sevastopol, every flickering light or creaking metal panel felt like potential death.
And then, of course, Sega said, "Just kidding. It was just a demo! Not a real part of the product at all."
That wasn't exactly unexpected, considering a consumer version of the Rift hardware hasn't even been announced yet. Still, it was a shame for anyone with a developer kit lying around.
It's a good thing, then, that PC gamers are PC gamers. In other words, there's a large enthusiast crowd out there that likes to tinker with settings files almost as much as they enjoy playing the actual games. "We know the code is in there somewhere," wrote Reddit user Wookiee81 at the top of this post, requesting people help crack open the game.
Long story short: They succeeded. A combination of Reddit users (popcorncrackle and hagg87) and Oculus Rift forum users were able to force Oculus Rift support in Alien: Isolation by editing an XML file and a few Oculus settings. Though hacked together, the game even has support for the DK2's positional tracking (although the light on the Rift that normally indicates this apparently won't let you know).
"Some of the menus are a little uncomfortable and the disable of head tracking during cut scenes is a little meh, chromatic aberration needs tweaking a tiny bit and the pop ups (mash A to power up) are not aligned properly...but this is AWESOME!" wrote Wookie81 after all was said and done.
I haven't had a chance to check it out for myself, but I plan to soon. I'm also interested to see whether Sega gives its blessing to the hack, or an official reason why Rift support wasn't just included--it seems like the feature was most of the way there outside of the user interface.