Kickass action flick John Wick is getting a VR experience and game developed by WEVR and Grab Games as Lionsgate bets the film starring Keanu Reeves will become a strong cross-platform franchise for the company. The movie is already getting a sequel with Reeves on board and the VR experience will be “available on most existing VR headsets in Spring 2016.”
Venice, California-based WEVR is making the game in partnership with Grab Games and Starbreeze, which is publishing the title “across multiple VR platforms.” WEVR made theBlu: Encounter, an experience shown as a core Vive demo while Grab created a Google Cardboard experience called Gold Miner Go and Starbreeze is the company responsible for the ultra-wide field of view StarVR headset and The Walking Dead VR experience.
The first-person shooter game will be centered around the movie’s Continental Hotel, which is a kind of haven for those working in the criminal underworld of the John Wick universe. It looks like the game will launch in phases as development is ongoing, with a promotional experience for the game to be added to certain stops of the HTC Vive World Tour followed by a “teaser game” available at the launch of the Vive available from SteamVR with the full game coming next year. Starbreeze’s Payday game added John Wick as a playable character last year and will also, separate from the standalone VR game, “further integrate the John Wick storyline” into Payday.
As for the nature of the development relationship, according to Lionsgate, Starbreeze is acting as a distributor and marketer while WEVR has developed a VR experience based on the Continental Hotel and Grab is developing the first-person-shooter VR game mechanics under the guidance of the Payday team from Starbreeze. “Additionally, WEVR is bringing their leading room-scale VR expertise to the table for both the Continental Hotel VR experience that introduces the game, as well as to the game itself,” according to Lionsgate.
If you haven’t seen John Wick yet, what are you waiting for? It’s one of the best action movies in years. The sequel is slated for release in September 2016.
It will be worth watching this title closely to see how the violence of John Wick adapts to virtual reality. The title character is a kind of ultra-efficient killer and in the film the viewer is given a super-compelling reason to empathize with Wick from the sidelines as he goes on his revenge rampage. However, I don’t want to experience the reason he goes on the rampage first-hand nor am I sure that I want to kill people as efficiently as Wick does, but that’s me. We’ll see how Starbreeze, WEVR and Grab do it.