Virtual Reality, in many ways, is still very much the new frontier and while they may not be saddling horses and riding to the next outpost, the tenacious Aussie duo, Jordan and Lee Brighton, took an adventurous track to learning about VR.
After selling their internet business in 2007, the pair hit the road with their two kids and for the past 10 years, have traveled through 35 countries to finally settle down in Vancouver. Along the way, they produced a children’s TV show that has been translated into multiple languages and screened throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
After receiving their Permanent Resident status in Canada just six short months ago, Jordan and Lee founded Virtro Entertainment. Their team’s first game Run Dorothy Run – an Endless Runner Rhythm game- was just highlighted in Sony’s Ultimate VR Roundup. Run Dorothy Run is set to be released on the Sony Playstation VR in Fall 2017 and then on the Oculus Rift shortly after.
We had a chance to interview Jordan and Lee about their journey:
How did you end up in VR?
J: By 2016, I could see that Virtual and Augmented Reality was going to be the next big thing, so I wanted to learn everything about it. Traveling was really the best way I could see to get a total appreciation of what VR hype was about. We love RVing so we packed our kids and jumped into an RV for another road trip adventure!
Who did you meet and what did you learn along the way?
J: Driving up and down the North American west coast, we attended hackathons, meetups, and expos. We met with the early pioneers of VR. I met amazing people that had engineered the Oculus and Playstation VR headsets; American, Chinese and Canadian investors and diplomats; and people producing 360 films and making VR movies. I spoke with anyone and everyone because I wanted to learn. And one of the key things we learned was the need for content. Similar to the challenge the web faced in the 90’s, the VR space needs more killer content!
How did you end up in Vancouver and at VentureLabs?
J: We have been to so many countries but Vancouver has always been our favourite city. I see Vancouver as a hub for VR because of the strong film and technology base. I love being part of the business community here. And we have been welcomed into the most amazing business accelerator at VentureLabs! It is inspirational working next to other people contributing to a better world by making great businesses and products. We meet people that challenge us to be better on a daily basis.
Tell me about Run Dorothy Run.
L: Run Dorothy Run is an endless runner game set to electro-swing music that challenges the player to dance their way through the story, loosely based on the Wizard of Oz.
How long has this been in the works?
L: We’re all about fast and efficient execution. We started the game in April 2017 and Sony is releasing the game on the Playstation VR in Fall 2017. Then it will be published on Oculus Rift, Vive, and Steam.
What’s your philosophy on creating a VR game?
J: It’s all been about testing, twisting, testing, and getting things done. I’m a big believer in taking young programmers before they’ve learned that “it can’t be done” and showing them what can be done. We playtest every Friday afternoon and the programmers get to see firsthand if their work is fun and playable.
What’s your next project?
L: We’ve started a second game called Zombie Donuts. It’s a first-person shooter game. The sandbox Google Cardboard version is on Google Play for free and we’re already in discussion with a number of VR headset vendors.
Run Dorothy Run is set to be released on the Sony Playstation VR in Fall 2017 and Oculus Rift to follow. In its final stages of development, media outlets are invited to two VIP playtesting events on November 2 and November 8, 2017 at VentureLabs.