San Diego Comic-Con 2017

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Author: Ariel Landrum

Virtual reality games have quickly become the next big thing in the gaming community. During San Diego Comic-Con 2017, one of the top-hitting companies in the immersive gaming world, Survios, made a large presence in and out of the convention hall. Through demos and panels, they showed badge-holders why they should be the go-to for this game experience. 

Amid the four-day pop culture event, the company provided first-hand demos in the Omni Hotel for their game Raw Data. This is the best game for newcomers to get a good idea of what VR is all about. It follows a band of hackers who aim to obtain raw data from a major corporation while battling robots. Pure satisfaction is felt battling these evil automatons on this enticing platform. It’s easy to see why it is currently ranking as one of the best global-selling games on Steam, bringing in over a million in sales within just one month.

Providing satisfying storytelling with immaculate imagery is the Los Angeles-based company’s motto. Fans quickly learned this when they attended the Survios panel Thursday night of July 17, 2017. Senior writer Jonathan Callan, chief executive Natha Burba, and co-founder James Iliff presented alongside senior writer of Blizzard Entertainment Andrew Robinson and adviser of the USC Games Program Collin Kelly at the panel: Simulated Worlds: Writing for Virtual Reality and Games.

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Attendees learned that storytelling can be difficult in gaming but even harder when the content creators must factor in a 360 world. Callan explained that though they maintain a 12-mission script format, like in traditional gaming, these documents are flooded with concept images and information developed with their art department. Burba mentioned that it will be “a long time” before the future of VR can embrace long replayable campaigns or side quests. The team explained that as the market grows, their objective will continue to be accuracy with controllers and the importance of detail.

Like many panels at SDCC, this one provided the audience with a few surprises. First was a clip that featured a new trailer for their Raw Data early access update. The clip was played on a screen, and the panelists acknowledged that it would be better if they could have handed everyone VR headsets. Despite the lack of equipment, the clip was enticing and brought more to the forefront of the game’s newest hero, Elder the Rogue Hunter.

The final surprise for the evening brought the crowd back to the grassroots of the con. A team of volunteers passed out a small comic titled Raw Data: Promotion Material to the guests. This freebie provides the backstory of the game’s plucky robot sidekick, Simon Teller. Callan explained that he knew he wanted to expand into the comic book realm, as he and his team are fans of the industry. He stated that he “believed the world of Raw Data was too big to be just a game.”

This simple piece was created with utmost attention to detail, like their games. The company hired the writer of the hit show The 100, Nick Bragg, to develop the story while an artist of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles creator Michael Dialynas designed art. More comics are expected, but this promotional exclusive could only be obtained at the convention. Throughout the following days, Survios maintained that as they continue to branch out in the comic market, their primary focus is on their home base of VR.

Any unlucky few who could not experience Raw Data due to lack of passes or time have the chance to hone their skills in this fast-paced visceral combat experience in IMAX VR. New Yorkers head to Kips Bay AMC in only two locations, while Californians can hop over to Los Angeles Grove.

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