Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Schell recently revealed that he’d expected VR systems to be in living rooms in 2005. I was fascinated by this, so asked him to elaborate earlier this week. Schell told me that, during his time working with Disney from 1992 to 1996, he believed that it would “take about ten years” for the VR tech he was working with to be available for consumers.
Schell was a part of the Walt Disney Imagineering group and was in part working on experiences for Disney Parks such as DisneyQuest. This indoor attraction contained VR experiences like Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride, in which people sat in a special chair and placed a set of goggles over their eyes. Sound familiar?
Continuing on, Schell explained that 3D visuals had actually progressed “at the pace we expected” by 2005 – it was just the HMD that was the problem. According to the CEO, those HMDs, including the tracking technology needed to give players movement, remained “primitive” for much longer than he had anticipated. Of course, it wasn’t until 2012 that a headset began to match Schell’s expectations surfaced, and it’s taken another four years on top of that for both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive to actually launch. With that in mind, he labelled 2016 an “exciting year”.
As such, the studio isn’t holding back from developing its first VR projects. Orion Trail, a port of its Kickstarted 2D text adventure title that debuted on Gear VR last year, was its first full release, with puzzler adaption Water Bears VR launching with HTC Vive support earlier this year before the headset was even out. The studio even gave the latter title away for free for a limited time.
Now the developer is focusing on the full version of its first VR project, a spy-themed trial and error challenge named I Expect You to Die. A demo for the game was released some time ago and proved quote popular. The full edition, however, will be supporting Oculus Touch. It may be 11 years late, but to Schell Games VR is no less exciting.