Magic Leap and Weta Workshop used the headset maker’s inaugural L.E.A.P. developer conference in Los Angeles to launch “Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders” as one of the very first gaming titles on the Magic Leap One headset Tuesday.
“Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders” is, in its essence, a steampunk-inspired robot shooting game that uses Magic Leap’s AR technology to bring killer robots into your living room. The game uses walls, ceilings and other surfaces to open portals through which the robots invade, ready to be blasted by the player.
The two companies demonstrated the title to a select audience of journalists and industry insiders with an abbreviated 10-minute version Tuesday, and subsequently released the entire title with multiple hours of gameplay as a free download for the Magic Leap One.
Weta Workshop game director Greg Broadmore told Variety on the sidelines of the event that he initially built the game for himself, but that “Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders” could ultimately appeal to anyone looking to play video games beyond the screen. “You can be part of the story,” he said.
Broadmore said that the title made use of Magic Leap’s room scanning technology to incorporate as many real-world surfaces into the gameplay as possible. “The more of the real world you will gather, the more the game will use,” he said. For instance, if a player scanned their ceiling, robots would ultimately open portals in that ceiling as well.
“Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders” had been very much part of Magic Leap’s development since its early days. One of the first concept videos for the AR headset featured robots similar to those used in the game, and Weta Workshop co-founder and CEO said during a fireside chat Tuesday that he was the 11th person ever to experience an early Magic Leap prototype.
Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz added that the game very much influenced the development of the headset as well. “This was our tip of the spear project. If we couldn’t make it with this, we wouldn’t ship,” he said, adding that the specs of the game contributed to the decision to switch out the chipset used for Magic Leap One.
Leading up to the launch of the game, there had been rumors that Weta Workshoup would launch “Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders” as a multiplayer game. That’s not true for the title released Tuesday, but Broadmore told Variety that the company was already experimenting with an early multiplayer version behind closed doors.