Starting a new game studio specifically dedicated to VR content is all the rage these days. Indie developers, former AAA stalwarts, and everything in between are ceasing the opportunity to dive into the VR market head first and take advantage of the early years of creative experimentation.
One such company is 3rd Eye Studios. It’s made up of several industry veterans with experience ranging from working at companies like Unity, Pixar, Google, and more. From producers, to programmers, to artists and musicians, they seem to have all their bases covered.
We had the chance to speak with 3rd Eye Studios CEO, Kari Koivistoinen, who has over 15 years of experience in the game industry as a Producer at companies like Remedy, Digital Chocolate with Supercell founders, RedLynx and Fathammer working on games such as Alan Wake and Quantum Break. To get a better sense of the studio and their plans, we did a quick Q&A about the direction they’re headed.
UploadVR: It seems like everyone has very diverse and specific backgrounds. What brought everyone together? How did you all meet?
Kari Koivistoinen: When we started to get the gang together, there were two really important factors to us. First, there needs to be passion towards VR. That’s the key factor which drew us together. Second is the vibe. We’re spending most of our time tightly knit together, you need to have a right kind of personality for that. Some of us have been co-workers in the past, and all of us were connected through our common friend who seems to know everyone in games industry.
For all of us, starting a VR studio was a leap of faith. Our families and spouses have been incredibly supportive and understanding. I remember our CTO sweating on how to break the news to his wife that he needs to leave his beautiful country house with garden, and move to small joint apartment in Helsinki.
UploadVR: What made each of you leave your previous roles?
Kari Koivistoinen: I would say that excitement for creating something new in VR connects us all. When the latest generation of VR devices came out, it was clear for us what to do next. We’re all about passion. Quit your safe day job and follow your dreams.
UploadVR: Why VR and why now?
Kari Koivistoinen: I have been a gamer my whole life, but nothing excites me more than VR now.
Throwing out the old rules, inspired to figure our new things, and creating something that was never possible before. I can’t imagine better platform to tell stories than VR.
UploadVR: Which type of VR content is most interesting to the team? Will you mostly be focused on VR games, or will you produce film-like experiences as well?
Kari Koivistoinen: We want to unleash the full potential of VR gaming. Take the immersiveness and social gaming to the next level, bring innovation and true native VR games to the market.
Our focus is on two things: One is that we really want to make games that brings the most out of VR, something bold, ambitious and new. Games that make people fall in love with VR.
Second is that we’re aiming to create best technology for making VR games. We are making tools which help modding community and other developers to create VR games easier, faster and more reliably. In the end, we want to bring VR to mainstream, and help other developers along the way.
UploadVR: Which platforms are you focused on?
Kari Koivistoinen: For us it’s very important to give players an amazing experience, without compromises, so we’re focusing on the high-end platforms. Right now our game runs on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and we’re keeping our eyes on a few other platforms as well.
UploadVR: Can you tell us anything about your current projects?
Kari Koivistoinen: We are now working on the first instalment of our ambitious Downward Spiral anthology series. Each episode will offer a unique VR experience different to the one before it, like Twilight Zone and Black Mirror TV series. First episode is inspired by 70’s sci-fi movies and modern TV series. Epic journey of exploration, action, mystery. With a level of immersion that have never been seen in VR before. It’s a true native VR game which can be played in online co-op.
For a brand new VR studio, the game industry roots and experience are deep and we’re definitely looking forward to seeing what they create. For more information, make sure to check the official 3rd Eye Studios company website.
What would you want to see from a Twilight Zone or Black Mirror style episodic VR experience? Let us know down in the comments below!