Initially launching on Viveport, the award-winning 360-degree VR movie, Gloomy Eyes, will be coming to Oculus Quest and other PC VR platforms on Feb 14. Gloomy Eyes tells the story of a young zombie boy who ends up falling in love with a human girl. It is split into three-part episodic volumes.
The publisher ARTE were unable to confirm exactly which other PC VR platforms it will expand onto just yet (such as SteamVR), but said they will have more information ahead of the Feb 14 release.
A 360-degree video version will be available on the ARTE Cinema’s YouTube channel. While it is possible to watch the full experience there for free, you won’t have the benefit of 6DoF (Six Degrees of Freedom) that comes with VR headsets. The full VR experience will cost $14.99 on all platforms
Celebrity Collin Farell takes on the role of the Grave Keeper, narrating the VR diorama-esque experience. Released as part of HTC Vive’s Viveport Developer Stories series, a video shows Farrell playing his role in the Voice-Over booth and sharing his take on working on the experience.
“Because [it’s] a VR experience,” Farrell says, “they’ve been able to just keep it about the purity of the story in a way that sometimes in feature film gets compromised because of the scale, sometimes, of things or the amount of people involved.”
Gloomy Eyes was shown at a number of film festivals and events last year, including Annecy, South by Southwest, and Sundance Film Festival.
At the Raindance Immersive Award last year, hosted at the heart of London to celebrate the best of VR moviemaking and gaming, Gloomy Eyes won the award for Artistic Achievement and Audio Achievement.
The full list of winners at the Raindance Immersive Awards 2019 were:
- BEST IMMERSIVE GAME: The Curious Tale of The Stolen Pets
- BEST INTERACTIVE NARRATIVE EXPERIENCE: A Box In The Desert
- BEST CINEMATIC EXPERIENCE: Afterlife
- BEST DOCUMENTARY EXPERIENCE: Ayahuasca
- BEST ANIMATED EXPERIENCE: Battlescar
- ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT: Gloomy Eyes
- BRITISH AWARD: BEST UK EXPERIENCE: Glimpse
- DISCOVERY AWARD: BEST DEBUT EXPERIENCE: Afterlife
- SPIRIT OF RAINDANCE: BEST IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE OF THE FESTIVAL: Cosmos Within Us
EA Motive Shows First Look at New Space-Combat Game Star Wars: Squadrons
Following the heels of the successful take of Respawn Entertainment’s Star Wars: The Fallen Order, EA Motive has given the first look at their new first-person space-combat game, Star Wars: Squadrons. The game is set to have a full single-player campaign as well as multiplayer modes. The biggest feature of the game is including crossplay across platforms, Motive have stated they would including cross-play between VR and non-VR players.
The single-player campaign is going to have players on both sides of the conflict, playing both Republic and the Empire pilots throughout the course of the campaign. Regarding where in the Star Wars Saga this game will be taking place, it is set to take place between Star Wars: Return of The Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The studio has promised fans that they will interact with familiar characters from the franchise.
Squadrons will include two multiplayer modes that have been announced so far: Dogfight and Fleet Battle. Dogfight is the traditional Team Deathmatch Mode where players fight 5v5 choosing either to play Republic or Empire. Fleet Battles, which the studio dubs the game’s “signature mode,” is an objective-based gametype that starts with a dogfight scenario. The victor takes the offensive in the next stage. The winner of the dogfight stage advances and then need to take down two medium-sized capital ships. If they win that stage, the final objective is to take down the opposing team’s massive flagship.
At the time of writing, Motive have announced six locations from across the Star Wars Universe for the game:
- Yavin Prime, the base planet near the rebellion base on Yavin 4, a gas-giant planet that hosts a large Republic presence.
- Esseles, Imperial planet with an icy ring that’s home to a listening post the Empire uses to spy on the Republic.
- Nadiri Dockyards, a starship manufacturing facility the Republic defends at all costs from Empire attacks.
- Sissubo, this planet is surrounded by the destroyed remnants of salvaged Imperial ships, parts of Project Starhawk, and is very risky to fly through from all the debris.
- Galitan, a remote moon that was pulled apart into molten fragments floating throughout open space.
- Zavian Abyss, a hazardous space region filled with electrically-charged asteroids from a surrounding maelstrom.
During an interview with Polygon, Creative Director Ian Frazier, wanted to make it clear that the game would not be a VR port but would be built from the ground up with VR in mind.“We started the game, and we had the initial prototype up and running very quickly,” Frazier said. “Much faster than normal. We were very pleased with that. We got it running in a week. And we had it running in VR by the end of the second week. So this game is like, really, really, really, from the ground up, both 2D and VR. And why? I mean, you kind of hit the nail on the head there. From a business standpoint, talking about how do we ‘optimize the amount of money this game is gonna make,’ VR doesn’t make sense. It’s a much smaller audience than the broader market. But why are we doing it? It’s because we think it’s cool.”
Star Wars: Squadrons will be released on October 2nd, 2020 for the PC, Xbox One, and PS4 as well as have VR Support for the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index, and PSVR.
Wraith The Oblivion- Afterlife Brings The World of Darkness Universe to VR
The World of Darkness universe is ever-expanding into the video game space as Fast Travel Games, the Swedish studio behind Apex Construct and Budget Cuts 2 will be a horror game based on the tabletop RPG. Their next big VR project, Wraith The Oblivion- Afterlife will be a VR adaptation of the tabletop game of the very same name.
Similar to the 90s tabletop version, Afterlife will have players take the role of a recently deceased person as they explore the Barclay Mansion, unraveling the many mysteries that await beyond the Shroud.
“I am a massive fan of games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Alien: Isolation, and have always felt that the kind of narrative-driven, exploration-focused horror these titles deliver would be perfect for VR,” said Fast Travel Games’ Erik Odeldahl. “To make such a game in the World of Darkness setting, specifically the rich and mystical world of Wraith: The Oblivion, is really a dream come true for me.” There has been no release date announced yet but Fast Travel says that Wraith The Oblivion- Afterlife is slated to arrive on all major VR platforms. A gameplay trailer and further details are expected to come during the Gamescom Now on August 27th.
White Wolf Publishing’s World of Darkness is a dark fantasy universe set in contemporary times. The critically acclaimed Vampire the Masquerade – Bloodlines, developed by the now-defunct Troika Games, is finally getting a sequel in the same WOD universe. Bloodlines 2 is a first-person RPG taking place in modern-day Seattle where players will take the role of a thinblood vampire with weak vampiric abilities that has been recently turned.
Bloodlines 2 will be releasing on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, as well as the next gen PS5 and Xbox Series X. Bloodlines 2 was initially expected to release on March 2020 but was delayed to an unspecified 2020 release date.
In addition to Afterlife and Bloodline 2, another game based in the WOD universe, Werewolf The Apocalypse – Earthblood, an Action RPG, was announced. The game follows Cahal, an eco-terrorist werewolf who has been banished by his werewolf tribe, on his war against Pentex, a corporation destroying nature and threatening the existence of the Garou werewolf clan. Werewolf The Apocalypse – Earthblood will be releasing on PC, PS4, and Xbox One somewhere in Q2/Q3 2020.
Baobab Studios to Unveil Next Immersive VR Experience Baba Yaga
Baobab Studios, the developers of multiple VR immersive experience such as Asteriods! and Crow: The Legend, has revealed the next project, Baba Yaga. They will be unveiling the first look at the 2020 Annecy International Animation Festival Online edition in June.
Baba Yaga will be a contemporary take of the Eastern European folklore using a 2D pop-up style, hand-drawn animation, and stop-motion. The audience will be taking the role of the main character whose mother is the village chief that has fallen deathly ill. With the help of their sister Magda, they seek the help of the witch Baba Yaga for a cure. Baba Yaga can be a force of good or evil and it is based on the choices of the audience how the story ends up. In a statement. Baobab Studio says “Baba Yaga blends theater, cinema, and animation into a unique experience that explores themes of empowerment and environmentalism.”
Join Baobab Studios as we take you on a never before seen journey, starring YOU! Immerse yourself in the enchanting production of “Baba Yaga,” the upcoming virtual-reality experience from the 6-time Emmy winning studio. We will be unveiling a sneak peak at the @annecyfestival! pic.twitter.com/X1VTLSo32d
— baobab studios (@baobabstudios) June 4, 2020
Due to the current ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, Annecy will be taking part in an online format. The registered festival viewer will be able to get the first look of Baba Yaga in the Work In Progress sessions starting on 15 June and will available all throughout the two-week event.
The session will feature co-founders Maureen Fan (CEO), Eric Darnell (CCO), and Larry Cutler (CTO) as well as other team members. They’ll be discussing past projects, the studio’s philosophy, their approach to interactive filmmaking, and of course a sneak peek at Baba Yaga. A live Q&A with the Baobab Studios team will also take place on June 23rd.
The 6 time Emmy Award Winning Studio’s previous and fifth project, Bonfire, had premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Starring actress, writer, and comedienne Ali Wong, Bonfire has the audience on the search of a planet that is inhabitable by humanity, finding themselves crash-landed their spaceship on a strange planet where they only have limited supply of nourishment, a fading bonfire, and a surly robot sidekick. Bonfire is available for download on Steam, Oculus Rift and Quest, HTC Vive, and PSVR.
Baobab Studios have stated that they will be releasing Baba Yaga on multiple platforms later this year.