VR app project brings back dead people in virtual reality
What if it only takes an app to transport you in a virtual world – a world where your deceased loved ones are brought back to life? A developer team of two childhood friends are taking this unique concept to Oculus’ VR app contest for the best unique VR experience on the Gear VR.
Australia-based Paranormal Games is a in-house game studio co-founded and led by close friends Steve Koutsouliotas and Nick Stavrou. They are developing a VR app for the Samsung Gear VR codenamed Project Elysium – it is their official entry to the ongoing Oculus’ Mobile VR Jam 2015, a competition for the best VR experiences for the Gear VR. Behind this idea is the real-life struggle of the developers with the loss of their fathers. Koutsouliotas and Stavrou are childhood friends, and their fathers are close friends as well. They both lost their fathers years back, which stirred up the idea of making a VR app that will somehow help in dealing with the loss.
Koutsouliotas and Stavrou have been in talks with professional counsellors regarding the implications of this VR project to those potential users who have lost their loved ones. The two have been seeking advice to make the project as ethical as possible. According to them, Project Elysium is a one-of-a-kind experience that is heartfelt and serious, and it was intended to be made with a high level of respect and a deep sense of meaning.
This ambitious VR project made its way to Mobile VR Jam 2015. There are no further details regarding the project or about its timeline, but the VR app contest’s guidelines state that project submissions must be due by May 11 – Project Elysium might be well on its way to completion by now. Oculus will be awarding huge prizes for the winning projects, with the grand prize amounting to US $100,000. Three runners-up will be awarded with $50,000, $30,000, and $10,000, respectively.
If the project proves successful, it will open up a lot of potential for the VR market. Something like bringing back dead people in virtual reality is an ambitious concept that will take lots of considerations in many aspects, including ethics and privacy issues. At the end of the day, it is all up to the user if it will benefit him the most, and if this technology will be beneficial in aiding with the grief and sadness associated with such a difficult time in a person’s life.