Have you been to your local Dave and Buster’s lately? You might want to see what’s up. That goes double for all you Jurassic World fans.
Available now at more than 100 Dave and Buster’s locations nationwide, they’re looking to take those who dare on a safari of a lifetime with Jurassic World VR Expedition, their latest and greatest gaming experience. But Dave and Buster’s is not only giving you a chance to play a new Jurassic World game; they’re giving you a chance to be in it with VIVE’s state-of-the-art VR technology.
Picture it now: the rush of being dropped into the world of Isla Nublar a day after the events of Jurassic World—and just before the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom—to scan and identify dinosaurs roaming the island. Take in the scale and magnificence of these wondrous, but terrifying creatures in a way you can only get with VR.
But why Jurassic World, you ask? Why virtual reality specifically? Why now? We sat down with Dave & Buster’s, Universal, and The Virtual Reality Company (VRC) to hear the thought process behind the largest rollout in location-based VR history.
Why is now the time to bring VR into Dave & Buster’s as a new entertainment medium?
Kevin Bachus, Dave & Buster’s, SVP of Entertainment & Games Strategy: Our guests are constantly demanding the latest and greatest experiences. Virtual reality allows us to take things one step further by actually putting them inside the game. We couldn’t tell the story of Jurassic World VR Expedition without truly taking you to Isla Nublar and letting you rub shoulders with raptors and T. rexes. VR was unquestionably the only way to do so.
Why is now the time for VR to be leveraged for a project like this?
Chris Heatherly, Universal Brand Development, EVP of Universal Games & Digital Platforms: The technology is finally there to do a broad rollout like this that can help us reach a mass audience. Dave & Busters has the courage and vision to not do this piecemeal; they brought it out to more than 100 of their locations in the country. That allows Universal and VRC to really invest in the gameplay and make something truly special.
What is it about VR that you believe will resonate with your consumers?
Bachus: Without question, it’s the immersion. You are totally surrounded by the game. Anywhere you look, the illusion is seamless. All your senses are stimulated–sounds, visuals, the sensation of motion. When paired with our VRX360 motion platform, we’re giving our guests an experience they can’t get at home. We actually take them to places they’ve only dreamed about or seen on the big screen.
Plus, having a story that people are intimately familiar with, like Jurassic World, immediately excites them. They know it’s going to be full of action and suspense, that it’s going to be of the utmost quality, and it’s going to be worth their valuable time and money.
Let’s talk about the Jurassic World VR Expedition experience. What is it and why is it a great VR experience?
Robert Stromberg, VRC, Co-Founder, Chief Creative Officer: From the start, we were looking to make a bold change with Jurassic World VR Expedition. It’s a remarkable departure from the traditional approach to filmmaking and the way most VR is developed. We brought together the most amazing and innovative animators, visual effects artists, and technicians in the industry to combine VFX and gameplay to achieve the level of cinematic visual integrity we would like to see in VR.
Guy Primus, VRC, Co-Founder, CEO: The most compelling VR content provides experiences that are too dire to actually do–they are either too dangerous, rare, expensive, or impossible. In the case of Jurassic World VR Expedition, the Jurassic films have allowed us to imagine that walking amongst dinosaurs is possible–even though we all know that it is impossible.
What aspects/features were you able to implement in the content that are specific to VR and wouldn’t be possible in traditional platforms?
Stromberg: Our VR content creation techniques have built a profound sense of presence through realism. You feel like you are actually there, in realistic jungle surroundings, in real time, in a breathtaking way, interacting with the actual characters, the actual dinosaurs from the Jurassic World films.
Our award-winning team of skilled VFX artists and animators were able to push the envelope with a visual fidelity that brings the Jurassic World to life in a fully convincing way. When these compelling environments and characters are paired with the added dimension of a VR motion simulator, it puts the audience deeply inside this world in a way that has never been done before.
What are you hoping the audience takes away from the experience you all created?
Heatherly: For many people, this may be their first time in VR altogether, so we wanted to make something that really excites them about the potential of this technology.
Here at Universal, there are many people—including our filmmakers—who have a strong interest in VR. We wanted our fans to feel the terror, wonder and awe that Jurassic World is known for in a brand-new way.