Courtesy Cloudhead Games Qualicum Beach virtual reality studio Cloudhead Games won some major recognition at the VR Awards on Oct. 16, coming away with the game of the year award for The Gallery Ep. 2, Heart of the Emberstone.

Qualicum Beach gaming company awarded virtual reality game of the year

Cloudhead Games lauded as it teases new project with ‘industry giant’

A virtual reality game that puts players on a crumbling alien world in search of a lost sibling has been named VR game of the year.

Created by Qualicum Beach’s Cloudhead Games, The Gallery Ep. 2, Heart of the Emberstone is the second game in The Gallery series, and was released last October.

While both Ep. 1 and 2 piqued VR gamers’ and the industry’s interest, the VR Awards in the UK surprised Cloudhead CEO and co-founder Denny Unger with a major win on Oct. 16.

“We were very surprised by the win. We were up against some very heavy competition from triple-A studios,” he said.

Those included massively popular games like Fallout 4 and Skyrim — traditional games that later got a virtual reality version. There were also popular VR-first games as well. “We we were a bit shocked to take VR game of the year with such impactful titles that we were up against.”

Unger said Heart of the Emberstone was different from its competitors because, unlike Fallout 4 and Skyrim, their game was built from the ground-up for VR, looking to develop a game that takes advantage of the new platform by building an immersive world that people can literally walk around in, and developing new gameplay mechanics specific to VR.

Cloudhead’s game was also the second in a series, allowing them to iterate on an already much-loved experience, ultimately creating an Ep. 2 that improves upon the detail of the virtual world, is a longer game, and takes people from an Earthly setting in the first game, to an even more impressive and intriguing alien planet in the second.

“A big internal goal for us is to anchor the user in the story, and make them feel like they’ve been injected into a completely new reality and become invested in that world, so we do that through storytelling, but we also do that through really great interaction design,” said Unger. “I think it’s those combining forces that made it stand out.”

But Cloudhead Games has even more radical plans for VR in store.

In a tweet acknowledging their VR Awards win, the company said, “…we hope you join us for what we’ve been quietly cooking for the future of #VR.”

Asked what that cryptic note meant, Unger went only a tad further in explaining.

“There’s not a lot I can say out in the open,” he said. “We’ve been working on something for the past few months, and I can’t give a release date, but it’s something really special with an industry giant that we’re working with, and it’s again, showing the world something they probably haven’t seen in VR before.”

In a previous interview with The NEWS, Unger spoke about the future of VR not necessarily being in “games” exactly, but it experiences that could perhaps occupy a space between movies and games. There’s no telling if Cloudhead Games is working on something along those lines, but he said those interested in what they are up to should keep their eye on the game studio next year.

As for the third episode of The Gallery, Unger said they are still planning but have not date yet for a release.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Beefs & Bouquets, Aug. 12

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo Art Gallery summer campers explore private, public spaces in new show

Dazzle Camouflage participants to unveil painting and video projects online next week

‘Unstoppable’ Nanaimo nurse recognized for work caring for survivors of assault

Island Health’s Aimee Falkenberg receives Canadian Forensic Nurses Association’s Visionary Award

Regional District of Nanaimo urges residents to sign up for new emergency alert system

RDN aligns its alert technology with Nanaimo, Parksville and Qualicum Beach

‘Food 4 Summer’ campaign in Nanaimo receives $10,000 from Island Savings

Loaves and Fishes trying to build new donor relationships during pandemic

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

More than $800,000 in suspected cocaine seized from ship near Victoria

RCMP Dive Team suspects more narcotics had been stored below ship’s waterline

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

Most Read