Universal, The Virtual Reality Company (VRC) and Dave & Buster’s restaurant and entertainment chain are taking a giant step into the location-based virtual reality business with the launch of Jurassic World VR Expedition, a multiplayer experience that give fans of the movie franchise an awesome chance to roam alongside dinosaurs.
Tied to the June 22 release of Universal’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the VR experience will be available starting June 14 at all 114 Dave & Buster’s locations in the U.S. and Canada. Each site will have at least one motion simulator that seats up to four players in the Jurassic World experience, which uses the HTC Vive VR headsets and hand controllers.
Dave & Buster’s also funded the development of the VR project, created by VRC, which was co-foundered by chief creative officer and two-time Academy Award winner Robert Stromberg and CEO Guy Primus.
VRC licensed the brand from Universal; the production budget was in the “low seven figures,” according to VRC.
Using the digital models of the dinosaurs that VFX house ILM used to make the motion picture, VRC hired a team of experienced animators and VFX pros to create the VR Expedition, which brings back that experience of roaming with dinosaurs, even with the T. rex. “We hired high-level animators so the dinosaurs’ movement and look were up to the standards people expect,” said Stromberg. It also offers elements of game play, as it uses a hand controller to “tag” the dinosaurs that they discover for rescue.
VRC creative director James Lima wrote and directed the experience. “We wanted to take people to Isla Nublar and visit Jurassic World, and here is where the power of VR presents its potential as a medium that is an extension of the film,” Lima said.
Dave & Buster’s — a believer in the potential of the location-based VR entertainment market — actually developed and installed the motion simulators with plans to continue to offer new content. Three additional VR experiences are already in production for the venues, according to Kevin Bachus, senior vp entertainment and games stragegy at Dave & Buster’s.
For Jurassic World VR Expedition, VRC and Universal will participate in a back-end revenue share, Primus explained. He added that VRC will also create versions of this experience for other VR-supported venues, both in the domestic market and internationally.
Greenlight Insights projects that location-based VR could reach $1 billion by the year’s end.