The growth of the virtual reality (VR) industry means that new studios and developers are popping up by the week to work with the tech. Formed earlier this year was a new Los Angeles-based team named The Rogue Initiative, which aims to work across a wide range of VR experiences and even integrate them with more traditional media. How does it plan to achieve this? That’s something VRFocus recently spoke to the team about.
In the interview below VRFocus talks with studio CEO Pete Blummel about the upcoming projects that The Rogue Initiative has in store and where it envisions itself in the VR landscape in the years to come. Expect to hear details about the team’s first three projects in the near future.
VRFocus: Would you describe The Rogue Initiative as a videogame developer? You came out as a ‘production studio’.
Pete Blummel (PB): We see ourselves as a full spectrum production company specializing in cinematic, interactive experiences with a focus on virtual reality. Our team is very well-established in the areas of VR, game design, art and narrative. As such, we are utilizing our collective experience working in film, television and AAA gaming to build a studio that very effectively bridges Hollywood with interactive entertainment, thus enabling us to create artfully crafted, marketable content to supply an increasingly growing demand both in the linear and interactive spaces, especially VR.
VRFocus: Can you explain how you intend to leverage other platforms such as film and television?
PB: We are a VR-first studio, and it’s an amazing medium with the ability to grant presence and empathy like no other. We’ll also leverage our work in VR to augment our IP and garner further awareness for our content in traditional mediums, such as film and television. Our approach is centered on successful storytelling in the VR medium, creating compelling characters and narrative that audiences care about, and then delivering experiences to audiences through a multi-channel approach. This is a unique, emerging area of entertainment and interactive experiences, and this is why we’ve brought together such a diverse and highly experienced team across a variety of fields in VR, gaming, television and film.
VRFocus: How large will your team end up being, especially considering you’ve already got three projects in the works?
PB: While our current team is 15, we will be expanding quickly as our projects take shape. We currently have three projects in the beginning of development, and we’ll have more to share on these projects very soon.
VRFocus: You’ve already teased your first projects, one based on a ‘big’ franchise. To clarify, does this mean a project based on an established franchise or a new IP you intend to develop into one?
PB: We are developing a new IP, which we’ll co-create and co-own, with a very established filmmaker. It’s the kind of project we’ve always wanted to make, and it firmly reflects our experience and sensibilities.
VRFocus: Why did you choose Unreal Engine 4 to develop the titles?
PB: We’ve enjoyed a wonderful, long-term relationship with Epic Games for years and have always found them to be a great partner. It just made sense to build our titles with the Unreal Engine 4.
VRFocus: When can we expect to see the projects announced?
PB: We’ll have more details this Summer to share on our upcoming projects. Stay tuned!
VRFocus: Where do you see The Rogue Initiative in five years’ time when VR HMDs are well established?
PB: Our vision is to be the premier entertainment company where Hollywood meets interactive tech. We have a deep understanding of these two sides of the entertainment industry, and we’ve structured the company such that Hollywood storytellers and filmmakers can create characters and worlds that cross mediums, and our underlying technology provides the bridge for achieving this.