No matter the studio, no matter the application or experience and no matter the hardware that it is being produced on, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) continues to generate investment from both inside the industry and from grants, individuals and consortiums outside outside of it.
The latest to acquire funding is independent Steel Wool Studios, a team with more than an a little bit of an interesting background.
Founded five years ago Steel Wool Studios has within its staff alumni from Telltale Games, Lucasfilm and Pixar Animation Studios which many video game aficionados would consider something of a dream team development. Steel Wool Studios began to use VR in 2014 on and earlier this year this work produced Quar: Battle for Gate 18, a turn-based strategy launch title for the HTC Vive which VRFocus described in its review as “genuinely fun and often tense”.
Their next project Mars Odyssey sees you take on the needed maintenance roll for the (in-game) long abandoned Mars exploration rovers. Teaming with NASA, Steel Wool Studios have produced a realistic environment based on the known martian terrain and the likes of Pathfinder and Opportunity will be found in their current locations and need to be repaired using their actual schematics. is launching on Steam on September 9th 2016, also for the HTC Vive. It is this along with other VR related projects “which span game, simulation, and narrative-based concepts” that will be supported by HTC through $5 million (USD) in Series A funding.
Speaking on the deal, HTC Corporation’s CEO Cher Wang said, “The Steel Wool Studios team carries an impressive pedigree of creative talent that has already proven its ability to build cutting-edge content for the nascent VR category. Taking a look at Mars Odyssey and Steel Wool’s other projects under development, it’s immediately clear that this studio will drive VR adoption with great content that balances amazing visual fidelity with strong storytelling.”
“After earning our stripes with Quar, we went all-in on creating content for VR, a medium we’ve been waiting for our whole lives.” Added Andrew Dayton, who co-founded Steel Wool Studios. “HTC’s investment gives us the ability to explore and push the limits of VR through the completion of projects we hope will excite everyone as much as we’ve enjoyed building them.”
VRFocus will bring you more information on the release when we have it.