Back in 2016, director Jon Favreau, in association with immersive studio Wevr, released the Gnomes & Goblins preview, a demo of an (at the time) ambitious VR film project. While it was well received, it lay nearly forgotten as the years passed with no sign of a full release. Hope has been reignited thanks to a recently revamped website teasing that project is “coming soon.”

A testament to how quickly VR is moving; back in 2016, the idea that Jon Favreau (the director behind The Jungle Book (2016), Iron Man 1 (2008) & Iron Man 2 (2010), among others) was working on a VR film was pretty big news. An original story complete with immersive interactivity, Gnomes & Goblins seemed quite promising in its five minute preview which was released on Steam. Unfortunately the project’s intrigue slowly faded from memory as years passed with no indication that it was headed for a full release.

That all changed in the last week when Wevr, the immersive studio producing the project along with MWM, offered up a sly tweet to the project’s official website which has been completely revamped, now prominently featuring “coming soon” text at the top.

It’s likely no coincidence that this would happen now—shortly after the release of Favreau’s latest directorial project, The Lion King (2019), which used a purportedly groundbreaking virtual reality production process which Favreau himself likened to a “multiplayer filmmaking game” in a recent interview. And with the excitement surrounding new headsets like Quest, Rift S, and Index, it seems like an opportune time to revive the project.

While we still don’t know when it will launch, the revamped Gnomes & Goblins website now seems to have a firmer idea of what the VR film will actually be. While the original version of the site waxed about the experimental nature of the project—and rightly so, as the merger of cinematic narrative and interactivity in VR was still just barely being probed in 2016—the new version of the site quite concisely describes the experience as a “story driven game set in an enchanted world of gnomes and goblins with you as the protagonist” [our emphasis].

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Indeed, since the debut of the Gnomes & Goblins preview in 2016, a handful of successful examples blending strong narrative with interactivity in VR have come to fruition with projects like The Invisible Hours (2017), The Great C (2018), and Star Wars: Vader Immortal (2019). Granted, with a clearer picture of the language of VR storytelling, Favreau and his collaborators are now faced with modern expectations; to what extent Gnomes & Goblins has or hasn’t been reworked to fit in today’s VR landscape won’t be clear until its launch, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed.

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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."
  • y_m_o

    Good stuff. Always a bit disappointed nothing came of this. Glad that’s about to change. Had no idea it was from the ‘Lion King’ Director. Well blow me down :)

  • JesuSaveSouls

    Jesus is mankind’s sole hope ! Jesus is my Lord and Savior !

    • Graham J ⭐️

      God is a myth. Quit polluting unrelated fora with this gibberish.

      • Earl Bergamot

        God is Creation. Anything else is irrelevant because you’ll likely never know more than that.

        • adrian meyer

          Yeah, a creation of humans who didn’t know any better.

      • adrian meyer

        I feel embarrassed for him haha, why would anyone go to the bother of writing crap like that every bloody article. About VR. Mental.

        • asshat

          either a troll or retarded

    • LardAndSavory

      if hes our only hope… where is he? looks like he left you behind bud. you prolly didnt donate enough money to the church. shame on you, welcome to hell for not doing something you didnt know you were supposed to do. and i thought god was forgiving… to bad he banishes people to eternal pain n suffering when they get confused by the literal king of deception and sin… kinda seems like a conveluted and improbable case, oh yeah and thats why we believe in blind faith! none if it has to make sense, and if you question how confusing and wrong it is, thats a sin too! welcome to eternal suffering for questioning something!

  • Peyton Lind

    Too bad this is associated with that leftist waste of flesh Favreau as even if something came out and was awesome, I’d have to pass on buying because I don’t want that moron to get another single cent from me.

    • Graham J ⭐️

      Tell us how you really feel.

    • sfmike

      Wait comrade until a heroic capitalist artist creates a VR project which passes your conservative politics to enjoy.

    • Brian Brown

      I’ve found that over and over, people with this kind of mindset tend to have low IQ’s. Also, Gnomes & Goblins preview is FREE.

  • sfmike

    Always one of my favorite demos for showing newbies the power of immersive media. So glad this might get a second chance.

  • Zachary Scott Dickerson

    My daughters love this experience, I would love to buy a more complete experience/game.

  • Jonathan Winters III

    The demo is magical!