A Work Of Heart: Owlchemy Labs Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality @VRDC2107
At VRDC2017 Devin Reimer and Alex Schwartz (Chief Technology Owl and Chief Executive Owl, respectively) of Owlchemy presented their Postmortem on Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality.
Owlchemy Labs originally began in the mobile and PC game space back in 2010. The team created the highly entertaining and successful VR game Job Simulator, which launched as a day-one launch title on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and PSVR with motion controllers. The game was a big hit with Rick And Morty co-creator Justin Roiland. The excellent job the team did with Job Simulator allowed them to gain the trust of Justin Roiland which led to Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, a collaboration with Adult Swim Games.
After listening to the postmortem I had even more respect to the Owlchemy team as the amount of effort they put into this game was truly an inspiration for game developers at all levels.
"It was amazing to work on Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality! Everyone at the studio were already such a huge fans of the show, and the show’s universe is so densely packed with hilarious bits. It was essentially a playground in which we could build absurd and hilarious moments. As for a specific proudest moment, showing our first playable demo at San Diego Comic Con has to be up there. The fans were floored by being able to experience their favorite show in VR and to finally feel like they had stepped into the cartoon. Watching people get completely absorbed into the experience and laughing out loud as Rick insulted them to their face was an unforgettable moment."- Alex Schwartz Chief Executive Owl in an interview with the VRDC team.
VR has a ton of problems to solve and in working on Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality the team created many additional problems for themselves. They did this out of true love of Rick And Morty as this was not a cash grab but a true work of heart. There were a ton of lessons learned throughout the process of building the game and the team shared many of the problems, solutions and hilarious prototypes. The team started from scratch as there were no 3d references for these characters at the time.
The Owlchemy team created mechanics to truly create a Rick And Morty world and really reinvented the portal gun with the creative liberties they took to solve problems.
Some of the liberties include moving the shelf in Rick's garage, adding a Real Fake Door in order to not access the house, adhering to the cannon that Portals must be shot on a flat surface and then creating new methods for portals to bring objects between scenes, death in a VR game, Meeseeks issues, and much much MUCH more. Just scroll through the insanity Owlchemy made for themselves with including the Combinator in the game. That spreadsheet of possible combinations is truly the work of Evil Morty level geniuses.
You may be aware that Owlchemy Labs was acquired by a promising Bay Area Startup recently so lets hope that they help Owlchemy continue to grow and make awesome VR content. I look forward to the future of VR if the heart that Owlchemy has is an indicator of that future.