Last month saw theBlu developer WEVR release a brand new project in the form of The Virtual Brainload, made in collaboration with Adult Swim for the Google Cardboard mobile virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD). The launch came as surprise to many given that WEVR was only thought to be working on its underwater experience for the likes of the HTC Vive. VRFocus recently spoke to the developer about the launch of the project.
In the interview below WEVR talk about how The Virtual Brainload came to be, and what it could mean for the future of the studio. VRFocus will continue to follow WEVR closely, reporting back with any further updates from the company.
VRFocus: The collaboration with Adult Swim was not one that anyone could have predicted. How did this come about?
WEVR: Adult Swim was excited to enter the VR space and we met with some of their team and really hit it off as our attitudes, personalities, and creative vision all fit. After a few conversations with the Adult Swim team, we discussed their immersive dome projection activation, the Meatwad Full Dome Experience, that was part of their San Diego Comic-Con presence in 2014. The content produced for dome projections is very similar to the 360 video we use in VR, so we suggested that we try porting their dome projection experience for VR.
VRFocus: How much creative freedom was given to WEVR?
WEVR: We were given quite a bit of creative freedom in terms of helping Adult Swim craft a virtual reality experience utilizing some of the digital content they already created. There was a strong creative collaboration from the beginning; and we probably created 5-8 different full VR experiences that we went back and forth on. We worked closely with them on crafting something that was both a great experience and a good fit for their audience.
VRFocus: How did working on this project differ from other titles, such as your own IP in TheBlu?
WEVR: It’s different in a number of ways. For instance, we’re working hand in hand with a collaborator, so there was more communication involved with that. There are some similarities to theBlu, though, as there was a lot of experimentation involved. We’ve learned a lot already from the experimentation done working on theBlu for the Gear and the Vive. As a result, we went into this project with more knowledge and were able to move and iterate faster.
VRFocus: Would you be interested in further collaborations of this nature?
WEVR: We’re incredibly interested and are regularly having these kinds of discussions. We feel that mutually this has been a good experience and we hope that we will be able to announce a new collaboration soon.
VRFocus: Are you happy with the results of The Virtual Brainload? Is there anything that you might do differently were you to be given another opportunity?
WEVR: Of course we’re happy. Is there anything we would do differently? I don’t think there is anything we would do differently from a creative standpoint but I think we could have managed our development process towards the end a bit better. Things got pretty intense regarding some of the final pieces of polish and communication between Google, us, Adult Swim creative, legal, etc. But it was a great learning lesson and with our first major VR launch on Google Play and our first collaboration with AS finished, we are confident the next release will go even more smoothly.
VRFocus: Why did you choose to develop for Google Cardboard opposed to Gear VR or a desktop HMD, such as the Oculus Rift?
WEVR: It’s a great platform for the experience because it has the greatest potential to reach a larger audience. Also, due to the intensity and craziness of the experience, we feel it was best suited for Cardboard.