To those who have been actively following VR, it comes as no surprise that Justin Roiland (co-creator of Rick and Morty) is a huge fan of the medium. He’s gone on record many times saying how much he loves VR, and how he’s working on VR games himself. He’s even done voice work for several VR games and had fan meetups in social VR apps. So of course, the next step is to start his own VR dev studio. He couldn’t do this alone though, so he’s co-founded this studio with former Executive Producer at Epic Games: Tanya Watson. Together, they have started Squanchtendo (named after the instantly recognizable character in Rick and Morty) which they say will focus on delivering full-length VR games that the industry desperately needs in the early days of the medium, with their first game being a “comedic action-RPG”.
Roiland had this to say to UploadVR about the company:
“There are very few VR games with really strong characters and voice acting,” Roiland said. “The goal for us to do with Squanchtendo is to approach all of our projects with a goal of adding interesting characters, personality, and a story to interact with in-game. Every game we make will be built from the ground up for whatever hardware it will launch on.”
It’s not going to be easy to do, existing developers haven’t just suddenly decided to make shallow games. Deeply engaging stories take time to craft and, as a new studio, Squanchtendo have only really just begun working on their projects in a real way very recently.
“The biggest thing you can do in VR that you can’t really do in non-VR games, is a huge focus on exploration and interaction,” Roiland said. “Putting the player inside of an experience and letting them stumble upon characters of all sizes. We want to craft narratives with a solid, macro, broad goal that feels powerful. Story-based VR isn’t very prevalent right now.”
He’s definitely correct in saying that story-driven games aren’t big in VR right now, so maybe Squanchtendo is exactly what we need for VR to really take off. With full narrative experiences, VR can become even bigger and we can experience a true virtual reality.
They also released this press release featuring their new mascot: Little Splzooshly.