As a part of our ongoing mission to showcase the virtual reality industry’s hottest startups we headed over to River, Rothenberg Ventures’ new accelerator program for VR, for an inside look at (a ‘VR Snapshot’ if you will) each of the 13 companies (selected from a group of 200) in the program, before their big demo day Monday.
When you say virtual reality to the average person, the first thing that tends to come to mind is gaming, and it only makes sense. Virtual reality is a perfect medium for gaming, placing you inside the action in a way never before possible. One of the companies that is currently exploring this arena is Reload Studios – whom we have mentioned extensively on the site before. Currently, the team is hard at work on its title World War Toons – a first person, multiplayer shooter built from the ground up for VR.
We sat down with James Chung, Reload Studios’ Founder and CEO, to learn more about the company and what they are doing in the virtual reality space.
Who is Reload Studios?
Reload is a collection of ex-Call of Duty developers and Disney artists as well as other industry talents gathering together to create tech and content for upcoming VR platforms. We are focused on our first title at the moment, which is the world’s first VR online multiplayer shooter game.
What is the team’s background?
We have a total of 19 people working on our project at the moment. Sixteen people are onsite, three offsite artists. We are also in the process of hiring more key talents.
Our game side of the team comes from years of experience specifically from the Call of Duty team. Our co-founder, Taehoon, has been with Infinity Ward starting with Call of Duty 2 until Call of Duty: Ghosts. Our executive producer, Pete, shipped all Modern Warfare trilogy and CoD: Ghosts. Both our lead programmer and lead designer comes from Infinity Ward working on multiple CoD titles. Basically, brains behind our studio comes from making 1st rate 1st person experience.
Our art team mostly comes from Disney. Our animation director, Nik, comes from feature animation side of Disney. His career started at Disney with Roger Rabbit during the 80’s until the most recent Disney feature animations such as Tangled. Our lead artist, Yongwoo comes from THQ working on numerous Pixar games. And our tech artist, Jae, also comes from Disney, working on projects such as Frozen and Big Hero 6.
I am highlighting the leads here but we also have very talented designers, artists and a sound team from various part of the entertainment industry. And growing!
When did you guys start working together?
Reload officially launched on July 14th, 2014. By end of Aug, we had most key people join in. Others joined over the time.
Where are you guys at with your projects?
We are at pre-alpha stage. But the core gameplay as well as online multiplayer feature has been already implemented and it’s all about making things better from this point on.
Why is the work you are doing in VR important?
We are reaching out to first audience in the VR space. Not with tech demos but a real content people can love and follow. And also create active economy surrounding it. Without these things, you cannot build a serious platform. We believe it is crucial to be one of the players who are producing a product fulfilling all those aspects of platform/market building.
Also, we believe we are making a content our fans can love and believe in. Bringing in our expertise, we are also trying to do something different with the genre we are familiar with. On the technical side, we are confident that we are coming up with solutions and best practices that makes real VR gaming possible and fun. We hope to provide these solutions for the developer community who will follow our footsteps.
What kind of funding have you received?
We are in the process of closing our lead investment. We will be announcing it once it’s complete.
How can people experience what you are doing?
We are still too early to have dedicated demo hosting. But we will be making announcements via our website (www.reload-studios.com & www.worldwartoons.com) as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages. Follow us for future announcements!
UploadVR will continue to follow Reload Studio’s progress closely as the company moves forward with World War Toons and the other projects they have in the works. Be sure to stay tuned to UploadVR this week for our continued coverage of the startups in Rothenberg Ventures’ River program leading up to Founder’s Field Day.