Virtual Virtual Reality is a VR gem which launched first on mobile VR headsets and recently came to the Rift. As a game which demonstrated an intricate understanding of VR interaction design and freeform narrative, Virtual Virtual Reality turned out to be one of mobile VR’s most immersive titles to date. Now Tender Claws, the studio behind the game, is teasing a new project in the works.
Virtual Virtual Reality is a game that looks and sounds great, and manages to give players a strong sense of freedom and interaction while guiding them through an interesting narrative—all the ingredients for an engaging and immersive VR game. Players seem to agree; Virtual Virtual Reality is rated nearly five stars on every platform on which it’s available.
So it’s good news to know that the talented studio behind the game, Tender Claws, is pushing ahead with a new project, this time backed by Oculus, and slated for 2019. The studio has yet to make a major announcement, but revealed as much in a brief mention tucked away in a recent Q&A on the Oculus blog:
We’re hard at work on a new AR game called tendar, where players teach a virtual guppy to live in the real world by “feeding” it through a well-balanced diet of emotions. Your guppy will learn, evolve, and analyze the world around it based on players’ facial expressions and level of cooperation. It explores some of the same overarching technological and societal questions as V-VR but in a new light. E3 attendees can see a demo of tendar in the IndieCade zone in the West Hall. And … we’re collaborating with Oculus on a new experience coming next year! [our emphasis]
Oculus further added, “Look for more news from Tender Claws in the months ahead […].” Perhaps we’ll hear more at the company’s annual developer conference, Oculus Connect, in September.
It isn’t clear if the new project will be a mobile-first VR title (like Virtual Virtual Reality), or built for tethered headsets like the Rift, or perhaps both. There’s also no word at this point to the extent of Oculus’ involvement; the company sometimes acts as the exclusive publisher of games under the Oculus Studios moniker, but could be collaborating in a less significant way.
The only other hints we have so far is another tease from Tender Claws in a recent Road to VR guest article about the design of Virtual Virtual Reality. At the end of that piece, guest author Mitch Mastroni, Interaction Designer at Tender Claws, left us with the following:
Designing Virtual Virtual Reality was an incredible learning experience for our whole team. We all have backgrounds in gaming but none of us had ever worked on anything quite like this—a dense three-hour narrative adventure in VR. We are currently working on several new projects that leverage our lessons learned from Virtual Virtual Reality and further our integration of systems and narrative. The state of interaction design in VR has come so far in the past few years, and we’re excited to continue exploring and innovating as we create new experiences.
It sounds like we’ll hear more concrete info before the year is up, and while we’ll be anxiously waiting until 2019 before we see more VR content from Tender Claws, it’s encouraging to know that the project has a sizeable development runway, as quality content takes time to gestate, especially in a medium as new as VR.
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