Walking around a city is something most of us take for granted, nipping in and out of shops, jumping up curbs, and mindlessly weaving in and out of crowds. These tasks however aren’t always as easy when you’re confined to a wheelchair, even when governments are making cities more disability friendly. And while that might be the case in some countries it’s not the same across the world, which is why Ukrainian indie developer ViRa Games created Wheelchair Simulator VR.
Designed as a comedic game that dares players to traverse a city by pushing two wheels with their own hands, they’ll soon find it’s not easy as the place is pretty much ignorant or even hostile towards the wheelchair users. On their journey players will be accompanied by a sarcastic narrator who shares his own story, cracks jokes and comments on players successes and failings.
This narrator is Dmytro Schebetyuk. Schebetyuk suffered a spinal injury seven years ago, but the incident hasn’t stopped him as he’s into performing extreme wheelchair stunts, hitchhiking around the world and he’s also participated in the paralympics.
Wheelchair Simulator VR came about after ViRa’s game designer Igor Kachinskij and the team saw videos Schebetyuk and his Dostupno UA initiative were putting online. “They made us realise that Ukrainian cities are very poorly adapted for people with special needs and these issues are almost completely invisible to “normal” people,” said Kachinskij in a statement. “So we decided to change that”.
“We quickly made a locomotion prototype, and reached Dmytro with our idea to literally put other people in his shoes (well, in this particular case, his wheelchair) in VR. Dmytro had a blast with the prototype and agreed to share his life story, talent and sense of humor with the project.”
ViRa Games plan on launching Wheelchair Simulator VR via Steam next week, on Monday 7th May for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The title will then come to Oculus Store and Viveport at a later date. The team will donate profits from the videogame to the Dostupno UA initiative to help people with disabilities in Ukraine. For any further updates, keep reading VRFocus.