The Hobbit: A Thief in the Shadows Studio Exploring ‘a whole bunch’ of VR Ideas

Arguably one of the most impressive virtual reality (VR) tech demonstrations to be revealed at the 2015 Game Developers Conference (GDC) back in March was The Hobbit: A Thief in the Shadows. The piece, developed by New Zealand-based digital effects company Weta Digital, was praised for its detailed conversion of author J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved fantasy world of Middle-earth to VR. Fans will no doubt be hoping for big things from Weta Digital’s future in VR, then, and the company has now teased that it is indeed ‘exploring’ the technology.


Head of R&D and VR Supervisor Alasdair Coull said as much to VRFocus in an interview that will be published later this week. “We don’t have any projects we can talk about at the moment but we’re continuing to explore everything,” Coull stated. “We have – with Valve we’ve got the HTV Vive, we’ve got Oculus Crescent Bay, we’re talking to Sony about Morpheus [now PlayStation VR]. We’re keeping on top of all these things and we’re exploring a whole bunch of different things. I think it’s a really exciting space and it’s something we’re keen on but nothing we can talk about right now.”

As Coull’s comment suggests, the company showcased The Hobbit: A Thief in the Shadows on the Oculus Rift at GDC and then again during SIGGRAPH 2015 back in August. Working with the other HMDs mentioned above would grant the studio some unique opportunities to explore. The HTC Vive, for example, users Valve’s SteamVR system to offer Room Scale user-tracking in which a player can walk around a real world environment of up to 15-feet by 15-feet and have those movements replicated in-game. It also features position-tracked controllers.

VRFocus will continue to follow Weta Digital’s work in VR, reporting back with the latest from the company.