Hold onto your seat belts: This ain’t your grandma’s roller coaster, nor is it your roller coaster, really. On Wednesday, Six Flags and Samsung announced a collaboration on a new thriller. Nearly a year after debuting the first virtual reality roller coasters in North America — which featured the use of Samsung Gear VR on rides — the two companies are taking things a step further and offering a “mixed reality experience.”
It’s all contingent on the Gear VR’s passthrough camera functionality, which allows riders to see both the “real world” and their virtual experience simultaneously. Once riders get settled on the coaster, they will see a display overlay on the passthrough camera view showing data like the current status of weaponry, time codes, fuel cells, and a countdown clock. “Cresting the lift hill, a massive, swirling wormhole comes into view. As riders drop at high speeds, the mixed reality view changes to a completely immersive, virtual reality environment and a fighter spaceship cockpit materializes and envelops the riders into a tunnel of light,” Six Flags explains in its release. “At the bottom of the first hill, riders are launched into the middle of a space battle, coming under attack from flying drones firing lasers and missiles. After swinging through tight channels, narrowly dodging drones and artillery fire, riders are brought into one of three drone bays, each of which offer a completely different gaming experience and three different endings.”
A lot to read? Probably a lot to experience, too.
“Six Flags is proud to be partnering with Samsung to develop the newest, most innovative thrill ride experience in the theme park industry,” said Brett Petit, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales. “This mixed reality technology is truly groundbreaking and like nothing our guests have ever experienced.”
While the ride opens to the public on February 25 at Six Flags Magic Mountain and February 20 at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, both theme parks are giving guests the opportunity to battle galactic enemies a bit early by way of a food drive. Every paid guest or season pass holder who selects to bring a full bag of non-perishable food items in support of regional food banks will be able to access the ride early.
“Our strategic partnership with Six Flags enables millions of consumers to experience virtual reality for the first time by bringing Gear VR to real roller coasters at theme parks across the country,” said Marc Mathieu, Samsung Electronics America’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We are always aiming to create immersive, never been done before experiences with our Samsung VR ecosystem as the focal point, so these new experiences at Six Flags are completely complementary to that key objective. We are thrilled to continue to work with Six Flags and bring VR to the mainstream.”