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Image courtesy Cloudhead Games

One of VR’s Most Sucessful Studios is Building Two Brand New Games

    Categories: XR Industry News

Cloudhead Games is one of VR’s most senior and most successful studios. Having not launched a new game since Pistol Whip in 2019, the studio tells Road to VR that two brand new VR games are in development.

Cloudhead Games might be old-school as far as VR studios go, but it has always been forward-looking.

Back in the Oculus Rift DK1 and DK2 days (circa 2014), the studio was already thinking about how to design games for VR motion controllers, despite no headsets on the market shipping with motion controllers until 2016. The studio was also instrumental in establishing several VR locomotion mechanics which have evolved into industry standards.

After the launch of The Gallery – Episode 1: Call of the Starseed (2016) and Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone (2017), Cloudhead was looking ahead to standalone VR headsets. Designing around the opportunities and limitations of the first Quest headset meant finding a careful balance of scope and fun, culminating in the launch of the VR rhythm-shooter Pistol Whip in 2019.

Though not quite the bar-setting success of Beat Saber (2018), Cloudhead’s Pistol Whip has endured as one of VR’s best rated and most popular games.

The title’s success allowed the studio to continuously update and improve the game with more maps, music, and modes. Compared to its original release, Pistol Whip today ships with significantly more content, all of which has been added completely free for existing owners.

Despite its success, the studio has been largely silent about its post-Pistol Whip plans. But at long last we’ve learned that Cloudhead is now building two brand new VR games.

“Part of our growth strategy [after Pistol Whip] was to split our team into two distinct lanes. This opened up the door to Cloudhead Labs, an incubator for internal pitches, prototypes, and the evaluation of new hardware. From there we set up additional internal support structures allowing Cloudhead to responsibly transition from Pistol Whip to two completely new games,” a spokesperson tells Road to VR. “We’re excited to announce that the last few years of prototyping in Labs has led the way to two new titles for our studio. The teams are now several months into production and will be sharing more details in the near future!”

So it sounds like we can expect a proper announcement in the “near future,” but what else do we know at this point? Well, for one, neither project is a Pistol Whip sequel. And considering the studio is “several months into production,” it’s unlikely that either title will be released before late 2024 at the earliest, with a real possibility of pushing well into 2025.

As a studio, Cloudhead has historically been very multi-platform—Pistol Whip is available on every major VR platform (and even some less popular ones). While that’s likely the case with these upcoming projects, the studio’s pedigree would put them on the short list for an exclusive publisher deal, but those have been very rare from major platforms in recent years.

Whatever the case, we’re looking forward to seeing what Cloudhead builds after everything it has learned about the success of Pistol Whip, and where the studio will place its next bets.