20th Century Fox’s Interactive Entertainment and theme park arm FoxNext is building a 2000 sq. ft free-roaming multiplayer VR experience set in the world of the Alien movie franchise.

The Alien movie franchise is among the most enduring in history, with very entry re-imagining a universe that was conceived almost 40 years ago with the latest, Alien: Covenant, in theatres right now. Yes the series has been a mixed bag from a critical perspective, but there’s a good chance that if you’re reading this, you grew up loving the 1986 sequel to Ridley Scott’s masterful 1979 original, Aliens, directed by James Cameron. If you’re nodding your head in enthusiastic agreement while reading this, then I’ve got some great news for you.

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FoxNext is a new division of 20th Century Fox comprising FoxNext Destinations, FoxNext Games and FoxNext VR Studio. FoxNext Destinations (focused on out of home entertainment, theme parks etc.), have shown off a proof of concept virtual reality experience for a large scale multi-player virtual reality experience. According to the Hollywood Reporter who snagged a sneak peek at the POC, this experience is the proving ground for a 2000 sq. ft. attraction including “specially-created prop guns with haptic effects and hand tracking.” And, perhaps inspired by the pioneering work by The Void, the experience will also integrate motion platforms, heat, mist and “physical elements” to bring the virtual headset delivered imagery to life. Although not confirmed, it does sound like the experience may be weapons oriented, with a chance that the experience may veer towards an Aliens (rather then Alien) setting. A prospect which Cameron may not relish given his public criticism of VR in the past.

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“FoxNext was created to support our motion pictures and with the view that technology is creating an opportunity for us to really revolutionize the way stories will be told in the future,” FoxNext president Salil Mehta told The Hollywood Reporter. “There’s enormous innovation occurring that allows real interactive storytelling, and we created divisions to focus on games, VR and location-based entertainment. We’re trying to define the best ways to create content for each.”

FoxNext is working with iP2 Entertainment and Pure Imagination Studios to build the technology behind the experience and, at this early stage, it seems that the teams are using Samung Gear VR headsets connected via “iP2’s proprietary wireless VR technology”, presumably with the help of some form large scale (i.e. industrial motion capture) rig for tracking both props and headsets. Whether this would remain the case for the full-developed version of the experience is unknown at this time, but in terms of content the report states that “volumetric capture techniques” were used to produce it, perhaps for scans of the physical set to be brought into VR.

This writer absolutely was one of the aforementioned who did grow up loving Alien and Aliens, and the (albeit tentative) prospect of being able to step into boots of a colonial marine, handed an M41A pulse rifle and taking the fight to the Xenomorph fills me with more childish glee than I’m prepared to own up to.

As soon as we learn more, we’ll let you know.

'Alien: Isolation' is One of VR's Missed Opportunities, But There's Still Hope
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Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded RiftVR.com to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.
  • dextrovix

    OK, so no doubt this’ll be much like an attraction at a theme park / Universal / Disney type experience. On its own, would that attract many people though?

    Now, having been scared shitless by Alien Isolation in VR (using a DK2 until Vorpx supported my Vive!) I’d love to try this. Whether I’ll pay and make a day of it, I’d have to read the review first. I’m sure Fox can afford to try this all out however! :)

    • RFC_VR

      I was lucky enough to attend”Alien experience” years ago at the Trocadero centre in London, UK. Done with actors, props and physical effects; was extremely effective. Started with a tour of the weyland-yutani facility, followed by an outbreak and space marine escort off site.

      Seeing one of your party (in fact an actor who was posing as a guest) being pulled up through the ceiling hatch in the elevator was frightening to say the least….

      • Dave

        That sounds fucking amazing.

      • I didn’t get time to add this as I wanted, but not being able to visit the Alien Experience whilst it was there is a huge regret of mine. Heard so many good things. Damn you sir!

        • Kevin Williams

          It was called “Alien Wars” and opened in 1993. Was fun, and a great launch party!

          • robert cole

            Thanks, I knew it was something more like that, but was getting confused with “Alien Earth War” (Dark Horse graphic novel)

            Also, after the experience had closed down (we went twice, and admittedly the second time looked for the “seams” and got shooed along by an actor in an imposing alien costume !!)..the Weyland-Yutani paintwork was left on the basement tunnel (that went through to the London Underground?) it was always a treat to move through an ‘out of time/place’ corridor. Then one day it was painted over :(

      • dextrovix

        I’d heard about that in London and knew it had now closed, but I sure didn’t realise that sort of thing happened for the added shock value- wow!

        I guess in that case, this will be just a VR extension of that. Let’s hope this has been designed to ensure that guests can’t bump into each other, by having everyone’s presence tracked in some way…!

    • Andrew Jakobs

      It’s still a shame they never finished the VR mode in Alien Isolation, it already was pretty close to finished so why not add the extra effort so it will sell even more copies to people who bought VR headsets (propably enough copies to support the extra effort).

      • ender707

        Agreed. I am glad I checked compatibility before I bought it.

      • dextrovix

        Yes, I’ve always thought it a shame Creative Assembly didn’t finish it- but I’d imagine Sega didn’t want the risk, or it was only a small test project internally at CA to start with. Sega did test one level at a few game shows using VR, but I didn’t get a chance to see the implementation myself.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          If you have a DK2 you are able to test it yourself (it requires some manual fiddling).

          • dextrovix

            Yes I did have a DK2 and it worked with that old runtime the game supported, but it wasn’t fully realised as I meant above, so reading in-game monitors and watching the cutscene movies in VR was difficult when it took control of head movement. Hence at least VorpX has the Peek option to get around that a little, and I wish CA had finished the implementation.

            The level that Sega was demoing at game shows apparently did work properly in VR so I’ve read, but like I said I wished I could have tried it, or indeed wish Sega had offered it to the wider VR public to try out.

    • Master E

      Didn’t know Vorpx started supporting the Vive… what else have you tried? Is everything that’s supported on the Oculus version supported in the Vive version? I might have to finally get a Vive

      • dextrovix

        Vive support in Vorpx is the same as Rift support, so any title that works in Vorpx will work on either headset.

        • dextrovix

          As for anything else, best you check Vorpx support site yourself as there is a database of working titles. And the community can add their own found profiles to it as more titles are found to work.

  • Kev Blair

    watch out for http://www.atmosvr.co.uk we’re planning a 17,000 sq ft free roaming VR walkthrough experience for Oct in Birmingham, UK

    • robert cole

      @Kev Blair. Any plans for London, UK?

  • kool

    I just want a co op aliens game that’s aim compatible. That’s all I could think about while playing farpoint. The spiders jumping at my face didn’t help!

  • Paul Jensen

    what a joke ….. another fox fail after stealing ideas from Void