Six Flags Entertainment Corporation—which runs theme park properties across the americas—and Samsung Electronics America, Inc. recently launched a renewed collaboration on new rides at two Six Flags theme parks which place users on real roller coasters while using a VR headset to add virtual visuals. ‘Galactic Attack’, which improves on the existing ‘New Revolution’ VR rides, introduces a ‘mixed reality’ element and ‘complex gameplay’.
Six Flags, which calls itself “the world’s largest regional theme park company,” has been at the forefront of the ‘VR Coaster revolution’, having launched virtual reality-based rides at nine locations in North America last year. Partnering with Samsung Electronics America, Six Flags offers the use of Gear VR headsets in combination with some of their existing roller coasters, which transforms the visual experience and, in the case of the ‘New Revolution’ presentation, offers a level of interactivity—the VR environment is a fighter jet cockpit, and riders can look around and fire weapons in a combat scenario as the coaster is in motion. The video heading this article gives an idea of what the experience is meant to be.
The collaboration has been refreshed for 2017, with a new experience called ‘The New Revolution Galactic Attack’ opening to the public this week at Six Flags Magic Mountain, near Los Angeles. The ride has been running since the 20th at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom near San Francisco, and was well-received by thrill-seekers at the preview event.
The new VR ride, which uses the ‘New Revolution’ coaster at Magic Mountain and the ‘Kong’ coaster at Discovery Kingdom, promises a “one-of-a-kind mixed reality experience” with “complex gameplay”, where your decisions during the battle to save the planet from alien drones will affect your experience and score at the end.
The ‘mixed reality’ element is enabled via the Gear VR’s passthrough camera, allowing riders to see the real world, including the person seated next to them. The virtual content begins to be overlaid in the form of a heads-up display, showing weapons, time codes, fuel cells, and a countdown clock. As the ride reaches the top of its first climb, a “massive, swirling wormhole” appears, and once the ride drops, the view transitions to a full VR environment. The ‘complex gameplay’ relates to the three drone bays that a rider can find themselves in during the space battle, providing a “completely different gaming experience and three different endings”.
“Six Flags is proud to be partnering with Samsung to develop the newest, most innovative thrill ride experience in the theme park industry,” said Brett Petit, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales. “This mixed reality technology is truly groundbreaking and like nothing our guests have ever experienced. Six Flags and Samsung changed the game last year with VR on twelve roller coasters and now we are breaking new ground yet again.”
“Our strategic partnership with Six Flags enables millions of consumers to experience virtual reality for the first time by bringing Gear VR to real roller coasters at theme parks across the country. We are always aiming to create immersive, never been done before experiences with our Samsung VR ecosystem as the focal point, so these new experiences at Six Flags are completely complementary to that key objective. We are thrilled to continue to work with Six Flags and bring VR to the mainstream,” said Marc Mathieu, Samsung Electronics America’s Chief Marketing Officer.