If you’ve been wondering when VR aliens would be coming along to scare the crap out of you and a group of friends, the time is now. FoxNext, the VR studio behind the Crisis on the Planet of the Apes VR experience, and Pure Imagination Studios have collaborated on Alien: Descent, a free-roaming arcade virtual reality experience that will be opening at The Outlets at Orange in Orange County, California.
“Alien: Descent’s story-first approach is at the forefront of the location-based VR experiences that we’re rolling out,” says Joshua Wexler, co-founder of Pure Imagination Studios, in a press release. “Our goal at Pure Imagination Studios has always been to push the boundaries of what’s possible — VR attractions are the perfect medium to do just that. Partnering with the forward-thinking team at FoxNext made for a potent combination of storytelling minds and innovative thinking to set a new benchmark for destination entertainment.”
In Alien: Descent, a group of up to four players will take on the role of Colonial Marines and investigate a distress signal from a Weyland-Yutani mining outpost. Players can move freely while avoiding and attacking face-huggers, full-grown Xenomorphs, and more.
“VR attractions bring together immersive entertainment with social experiences that can’t be replicated in the living room,” said Salil Mehta, president of FoxNext. “The rich storytelling opportunities in the Alien universe makes it a perfect fit for cutting-edge destination entertainment. Plus, who doesn’t want to battle Xenomorphs and save the world?”
This group VR experience utilizes wireless technology from Pure Imagination Studios that allows players to move around without the use of PC backpacks or wires. Custom-designed weapons and motion-tracking sensors on legs and arms provide the needed signals. There are also some environmental effects, like moving platforms, used to enhance the immersion. When I inquired about the wireless tech being used by Pure Imagination Studios, I was provided with this message from Joshua Wexler:
"Pure Imagination has combined a range of proprietary hardware & software solutions with some leading off-the-shelf technologies to create a deeply immersive free-roaming VR platform that leverages the strengths of each of the integrated components to allow critical latency-reducing processes, like rendering and inter-player communications, to happen on the HMD itself, while other complimentary functions are handled remotely. Despite being wireless, the company believes it's achieved a visual quality as good as, or even better than most of the tethered VR experiences out there. "
If you want to check this terrifying experience out, Alien: Descent opens April 26 at the Outlets at Orange. The $22 tickets are available on the official Alien: Descent website.