Los Angeles-based Virtual Reality Company (VRC) announced a new animated virtual reality series Monday that will be distributed both across headsets as well as in theaters. The first episode of “Raising a Rukus” will premiere in theaters in Canada this spring, and get wider distribution across North America later this summer.
“Raising a Rukus” is the story of two siblings and their mischievous pet dog Ruckus, who are traveling to different worlds and have magical adventures together.
VRC’s co-founder and Chief Creative Officer Robert Stromberg described it as first-of-its-kind animated family entertainment for virtual reality in a recent interview with Variety. “It’s like watching a Pixar short — except that you are immersed in it,” he said. “For the first time, we are taking a ride with these characters.”
Each episode of the show will last 12 minutes, but Stromberg said that some will feature branched narration, allowing viewers to experience the story either from the perspective of the brother or the sister.
VRC, which was co-founded by Stromberg as well as Guy Primus, Chris Edwards and Joel Newton in 2014, is best known for “The Martian VR Experience,” which it produced together with the Fox Innovation Lab. With “Raising a Rukus,” the company is eschewing popular Hollywood franchises to build out its own intellectual property. ”Even ‘Avatar’ wasn’t ‘Avatar’ before making it,” quipped Stromberg.
Stromberg, who won one of his two Academy Awards as art director of “Avatar,” has become one of Hollywood’s most prominent VR producers. “It’s a very powerful medium, he said, while acknowledging that VR is progressing with what he called a slow burn, as opposed to overnight success. “It’s too powerful to just go away. Over time, people will recognize its power.”
“I’m really proud to be in a position with VRC that we are taking these leaps into the darkness,” Stromberg said. “When the sun rises in VR, we will be there standing.”
VRC has raised more than $25 million, including a $23 million Series A in June of 2016 that was led by China’s Hengxin Mobile Business.