The interactive entertainment branch of Fox, FoxNext, is building a new experience based on the Alien franchise, but this is no theme park. Instead, it will be a free-roaming virtual reality facility that lets player step into a world populated by xenomorphs — at their peril.
Of all the games and experiences that were at one point in time compatible with the pre-consumer release headsets, like Oculus’ DK2, the one that many fans remember most fondly is Alien: Isolation. Although it had its problems and is somewhat playable on modern hardware, it’s that claustrophobic, xenomorph-hunted experience that many still hanker for.
That’s exactly what FoxNext is looking to deliver, but unlike Isolation, it won’t utilize gamepad controls and be a static, standing experience. What its making is ‘warehouse scale’ in that you can walk around a large facility that measures 2,000 square feet, with “prop guns with haptic effects and hand tracking,” (as per the Hollywood Reporter).
Some press have been walked through a proof of concept experience, with FoxNext using that feedback and the experience of creating it to build the final version. In that, four players will be able to explore the Alien setting together, shooting and flinging grenades at various digital xenomorphs as they try to survive.
Although FoxNext hasn’t suggested what the VR hardware will be like in the final experience, in the proof of concept Gear VR headsets were used. However, it also made use of proprietary wireless technology created by iP2 Entertainment, with whom FoxNext is partnering to build the attraction. The VR setting will be made using volumetric capture techniques, so it’s possible that real sets will be built and digitally brought into the virtual world, rather than digitally created within a typical gaming engine.
It will also be partnering with PureImagination studios, which previously put together the Justice League 4D dark ride for Six Flags Over Texas as well as the Angry Birds 4D Experience for Thorpe Park, England.
FoxNext already has some experience creating virtual reality attractions with The Martian VR Experience and Alien: Covenant In Utero. It seems likely to have drawn from other developments like The Void, as well in this creation.