Magic Leap One, the upcoming AR headset from one of the most well-funded startups in history, is said to arrive sometime this year. While no real specs are known about the headset outside of a few choice bits revealed during its unveiling back in December, one important factor that’s been largely unresolved is starting to slowly materialize despite the company’s insistence on complete secrecy: content. Talking to Rolling Stone, Weta Gameshop designer and artist Greg Broadmore revealed that an upcoming first-person shooter called Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders, which is slated to launch alongside Magic Leap One, has been the headset’s longest-developed game.
Update (03/18/18): Weta Gameshop, a 50-person game development wing born from Weta Workshop, is now officially open for business, according to RadioNZ. The studio is made up of half Weta and half Magic Leap staff set in a warehouse at Weta’s site in Miramar, New Zealand.
Magic Leap first showed off a Dr. Grordbort-themed concept video back in March 2015, but it wasn’t clear at the time what end the video would play, be it a one-off marketing video or otherwise. Now it’s clear the concept video wasn’t simply a paid ‘what if’, but rather a game prototype Weta Workshop was toying with.
Speaking with Rolling Stone’s Brian Crecente, Weta Gameshop designer and artist Greg Broadmore revealed the company’s first-person shooter Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders has been in the making for more than 5 years now, something Broadmore says has been equal part game production, and equal part platform development.
“One [of our jobs] is to make a mixed reality game on Magic Leap, but the other is to actually help to define the platform in the first place, and we’ve been part of that feedback loops since the start,” Broadmore told Rolling Stone.
In order keep the business going post-Lord of the Rings, Weta Workshop started selling replica props like swords, helmets and Hobbit pipes—something to insulate the company from the “feast and famine” nature of producing props for the film industry. Eventually the company started looking for new places for revenue, which led to designer Richard Taylor to create the retro-futurist guns which soon became the basis of the prototypal space-faring English colonist Dr. Grordbort.
Even though Weta Gameshop wouldn’t reveal much more about Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders to Crecente, they did say the game is releasing alongside Magic Leap One. By description the game is a wave shooter, but Weta told Rolling Stone there will be plenty of “character stuff” as well.