Skip to content

Hands-On: Raising A Rukus Is A Delightful Family-Oriented VR Story From VRC

Hands-On: Raising A Rukus Is A Delightful Family-Oriented VR Story From VRC

As I experienced Raising a Rukus from The Virtual Reality Company, the word “delightful” kept popping into my head. After the 12-minute story ended, I wished I had my daughter sitting in the chair next to me watching it at the same time so we could talk about it and I could see her reaction to the story. Overall, the short story felt on par with many Hollywood-produced family friendly movies.

I was one of the first to see this latest project from VRC late last week. For those unfamiliar, VRC is a Steven Spielberg-backed startup headed by Guy Primus as CEO and Maleficent director Robert Stromberg as chief creative officer. VRC is listed as the developer of The Martian VR Experience alongside its sister company, The Third Floor. When it released, The Martian VR Experience based on Ridley Scott’s movie got clobbered in reviews partially because of its premium pricing — $20 — and lasting only around 20 minutes with limited interactivity while other, cheaper,  VR games offered much more entertainment. Raising A Rukus is different in many ways, and said to be produced in-house by VRC alone as a piece the company aims to turn into a franchise. This makes the project an important one for the startup.

Raising A Rukus tells the story of twins on their birthday who learn a valuable lesson on a Muppet Babies or Rugrats-type adventure in their back yard with their new dog, Rukus. Wearing a headset, a visitor to this world is a disembodied viewer with a front row seat to this fast-paced story that introduces you to this family before the kids set off on a dinosaur-filled adventure. The short story is action-packed with a moving camera following the kids in a straight line most of the time at a constant speed. This means it should be comfortable for most despite moving the viewer quite a bit. Also, in a step forward for VR tech, at one point the story branches so seamlessly that it was easy to miss. There’s no on-screen prompt of any kind — the direction you look quietly selects the next section of the story without you even realizing what happened.

VRC is planning to launch Raising A Rukus at a location-based VR center. I tried it seated in a D-BOX shaking chair like those found at the new VR center IMAX opened in Los Angeles. After appearing at these types of centers first it is expected to launch on mobile headsets geared toward the millions of potential buyers out there. VRC will eventually try to hit all headsets. I tried it on a Rift but it is clearly tuned for mobile devices as there is no advantage to leaning around the world rather than just turning your head to take in the sights. The experience was also incomplete, with some finishing visual touches needed at a few parts. Most of the action plays out in a forward-facing position so it is perfect for a seated experience in practically any headset.

We’ll continue to follow up as VRC releases more details about the project, including release date and price. Images of the titular Rukus, for example, are being kept under wraps for the time being. Nevertheless, I already have a 6-year-old begging me to introduce her to the pup and I can’t wait to see what she thinks.

Weekly Newsletter

See More