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Kuato Studios’ Panic Room Bridges VR and Non-VR Cross-Platform Experiences

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UK Based EdTech gaming studio, Kuato Studios, debuts their first-ever VR title, Panic Room. This comes off the news that the studio had raised £4.5m in a round led by Horizon Ventures. The studio is renowned for making award-winning apps and education based games, as well as partnering with well-known brands such as Marvel and Disney. Kuato Studios wants to use Panic Room to show how to use VR in innovative and creative new ways.

Panic Room is powered by Kuato's patented Actor/Director platform, making it the world's first cross-platform, socially interactive VR game. The Actor/Director platform allows gamers to interact and engage in a shared online space. A typical Actor-Director arrangement involves a VR headset-wearing ‘Actor' interacting with a virtual 3D world, which can be viewed and controlled by a ‘Director' through a secondary device such as a tablet, mobile phone, or PC. This approach elevates VR from a typically solo activity to a more interactive and shared experience. While creating a bit of fun, Kuato is also demonstrating how third parties such as parents, teachers or carers can have visibility of a child during VR gameplay.

Mark Horneff, Managing Director of Kuato Studios, said: “Virtual reality has progressed significantly over the last decade, but a primary issue stems from the fact it's a single-person experience. We are incredibly excited to be launching this game as part of our ambition to shift into the VR market.” Horneff adds, “In the current circumstances where interactions are at arm’s length and done remotely, we wanted to offer gamers the chance to escape but stay connected with friends and family, and also open the platform up to third-party developers to use as well. ‘Panic Room’ is an internet-based experience which can be played over Zoom or with two individuals in close proximity – a concept we will apply to other developments to support family connectivity.”

Panic Room has the VR player take the role of the Actor trying to escape a mysterious cabin deep in the woods. The non-VR player, the Director, isn't there to help the VR player but there to hinder their attempts to escape. They can achieve this in a multitude of ways, mainly in dropping in a scary surprise for the VR player.

When speaking of their aim with Panic Room, Horneff stated, “Our vision is to test out the technology with ‘Panic Room’ and then extend it to our library of games, which align with Kuato’s education-driven ethos where children can learn and play, whilst parents, carers or teachers can oversee gameplay.”

Panic Room is out now for free on the Oculus Rift and the accompanying app for Panic Room can be found on the Google Play and Apple App Store.

Video game journalist, podcaster and VO artist; also enjoys yelling at clouds and my spirit animal is Bill Burr.