See Also: K&L’s Ikrima Elhassan on Developing a Comedy Tabletop Game Bebylon

Kite & Lightning is an LA-based creative studio that’s released some of the most polished VR experiences we’ve seen throughout the development of the Oculus Rift. Now the studio is taking it’s first step away from ‘experience’ and into the realm of games, and boy… what a step it is. The studio’s first VR game is Bebylon: Battle Royale, where players will take on the roll of “babies in Max Max style vehicles duking it out.”

Bebylon might seem like a 180 from Kite & Lightning’s previous work—like Senza Peso, a visual VR experience which complimented an opera—but I for one am happy to see the studio’s unique style come to the forefront, now out from under creative restrictions of former branded contract work like GE Sub Sea VR and GE NEURO VR.

See Also: Senza Peso is a Stunning, First of Its Kind, Virtual Reality Mini-opera

Kite & Lightning co-founder Ikrima Elhassan tells me that Bebylon’s setting involes a world where mankind has discovered immortality, but at the cost of not aging past the physical appearance of babies. If the concept seems funny, that’s because it’s supposed to be.

“We’ve done the drama thing and the sci-fi thing and the action thing. So this is like ‘how does comedy work in VR’,” Elhassan told me, noting that this would be the studio’s first proper self-published game, as compared to their previous branded experiences. “Now we can go to town making a full game.”

The game will be a “hybrid of Mario Kart party mode and Super Smash Bros,” Elhassan says; a vehicular combat brawler where ‘Bebys’ battle for glory.

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Elhassan told me that a major goal of the game is to recreate the feeling of playing in the same physical space with your friends. From the player’s perspective, the battle will take place on a miniature battlefield, with each player in a multiplayer match actually sitting around the battlefield within a VR space. You’ll be able to see the action on the table in front of you but also be able to look up to see the reaction of your opponent when you deal a decisive blow.

To start, the game will be 1v1 only, but Elhassan says that spectating will be a “huge component” of the game and that the studio is exploring ways for spectators to interact with the matches in meaningful ways.

Although the title will be a multiplayer-only experience, it won’t be without narrative.

“Our hearts are in cinematic VR storytelling so there will be lots of that in there,” Elhassan said.

Kite & Lightning aims to support Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR for Bebylon: Battle Royale, though whether that roll out will be simultaneous or staggered is still unannounced, though the studio is aiming for a Summer 2016 release date. As a multiplayer-only experience, Elhassan says Bebylon is “definitely not a $60 game,” but the studio hasn’t yet locked down a price point.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."