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

Parcel stolen from front porch, Nanaimo RCMP looking for suspect

Unidentified woman allegedly stole package containing $400 smart watch

Police look for suspect after alleged assault at gas station in Nanaimo

Victim says he was punched in the head several times in late April at business in South Wellington

280-unit development in Lantzville will proceed to public hearing

Mayor says Clark/Medd properties affect municipality’s future

Nanaimo’s Bastion Street Bridge to close for repairs

Bridge linking downtown Nanaimo to Old City Quarter to close for 18 days to fix deck joints

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo’s Rocky Point

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Most Read