Facebook Acquires Ready at Dawn, VR Studio Behind ‘Lone Echo’
One of the biggest VR developments early this week has been Facebook’s acquisition of the Virtual Reality studio Ready at Dawn. This the developer that is behind one of the biggest VR series, Lone Echo VR games. The cost of the acquisition was not disclosed.
The deal happened on the same day that Facebook Gaming announced it would start accepting transfers of viewers and streamers following Microsoft’s decision to close its Mixer livestreaming service on July 22. The two developments show Facebook’s strong commitment to provide gamers as well as VR games with social networking service on the Oculus headsets.
Facebook’s VP of AR/VR content Mike Verdu announced the deal two days ago via a blog post. Verdu stated that Facebook was drawn to Ready at Dawn’s storytelling as well as innovation DNA that clearly came out in the studio’s Lone Echo which has gone to define the VR narrative adventure genre while also displaying the potential for VR to provide players with a more immersive, memorable as well as emotionally-charged experiences.
Ready at Dawn has strongly advocated for Virtual Reality as well as the Oculus platform. The studio began with console games, shipping Sony’s alternate history shooter The Order: 1888 in 2015. Following Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus and its launch of the Rift VR headset, Ready At Dawn turned its attention to virtual reality.
After the acquisition, Ready At Dawn is now part of the Oculus Studios and will continue on its path of developing virtual reality content but as an independently-operated studio. So far, Oculus Studios has acquired Beat Saber developer studio Beat Games and Asgard’s Wrath maker Sanzaru Games.
The studio is also still working on its VR series hit Lone Echo II. Apart from developing hit virtual reality games, Ready At Dawn has also shown proficiency with the virtual reality movement mechanics following a debut of its locomotion system as well as a full-body IK (inverse kinematics).
Ready At Dawn CEO and Creative Director Ru Weerasuriya tweeted his excitement at joining the Facebook family, vowing to continue pursuing the studio’s path : –
Nearly 17 years ago, we embarked on a journey to build a game studio. Along the way, we innovated on genres, experiences, games and platforms. Today, we’re excited to join the Facebook family as we open a new chapter in our story and continue to pursue our passions #WeAreRAD pic.twitter.com/KyaorRyPpn
— Ru Weerasuriya (@Ru_Weerasuriya) June 22, 2020
Ready At Dawn has so far developed three titles for the Oculus Platform including the popular Lone Eco, Echo Arena as well as Echo Combat. The games demonstrate the studio’s excellent mastery of movement in zero gravity in space without making the player feel nauseated.
Lone Echo and Echo Arena
In 2015, Ready At Dawn announced that it was building an exclusive game for Rift. The game grew into two projects. The first one was the 2017 single-player adventure Lone Echo. The second one was the separate multiplayer game known as Echo Arena.
Each of the games leverages a zero gravity locomotion mechanic where players are able to float through the air, pushing off the walls to propel themselves. Players in Lone Echo control a robot called Jack who helps Captain Olivia Rhodes in her dangerous mission in deep space. Echo Arena, on the other hand, immerses you into futuristic esports. Both of these VR titles have been massive successes. For a time, Lone Echo was the fastest selling Rift game and grossed $1 million in revenues. Echo Arena, on the other, led to expansion into Echo Combat.
Ready At Dawn is currently building a port of Echo Arena called Echo VR for the Quest platform. It is free to play in public beta testing. Lone Echo 2 will be released on Rift later in the year. During this week’s announcement, Facebook didn’t reveal any additional projects for the studio.