Tyler Hurd is the creative genius that made me write that headline; it’s a sentence that never existed until now, and I thank him for letting me bring it into the universe. And while I really can’t think of any better way to describe what his studio Gentle Manhands has unleashed upon the PC VR headset-owning world, here it goes: Beach Body Bros (2019) is weird, fun, and a little homoerotic, but most of all it’s extremely Tyler Hurd.
Like Hurd’s penultimate creation Chocolate (2017), Beach Body Bros tosses you into a psychedelic world that’s entirely dedicated to you, the viewer.
In this four-minute experience though, you aren’t just watching the action unfold and tapping your foot to the beat, but rather you’re pumping iron and striking poses as your skinny frame slowly bulks up to the glistening gym god that you knew you’d always become.
If you don’t crack a smile at least once while you’re curling successively heavier dumbbells to the screaming ’80s-inspired soundtrack, all the while encouraged by all types of stereotypical beach-dwelling meat heads, well, I don’t know how to help you.
In an Oculus developer blog post earlier this summer, Hurd explained why he focuses so much on creating his unique flavor of user-centric experiences, and why it had to be beachy beefcakes galore this time around:
“In my past projects I’ve found that users enjoy playing with the avatar they are embodying, and it’s best to make their role in the experience as clear as possible while keeping their engagement with the virtual world fun and constant,” Hurd says. “Naturally in a weightlifting environment there’s a lot of focus on self-image which is perfect for someone embodying a new avatar. There is also an intense amount of camaraderie and encouragement which is great for the user to feel like they’re engaging with the virtual world and the characters in it.”
Hurd, previously a developer at Double Fine Productions, is known for his award-winning VR experiences BUTTS (2015), Old Friend (2016), and Chorus (2018).