Adult Swim and Owlchemy Labs fans rejoice—the rickest Rick and the mortiest Morty have crossed over from the multiverse to the metaverse. You can get Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality for $29.99 on the Oculus Store—available now, bruh!
We dove in with Alex Schwartz—Owlchemy Labs’ self-described CEO and janitor—to get as schwifty as possible at launch.
What was it like to transform iconic/cult classic figures like Rick and Morty from 2D to 3D?
Alex Schwartz: Working on an IP where almost everyone in the studio was already obsessed with the show was awesome—the entire team came to the project with an incredible amount of enthusiasm to hit the ground running. The biggest challenge was figuring out a way to get these characters to work in VR. Taking over-the-top 2D-drawn characters and realizing them in 3D was something we had to put a lot of thought into, since 3D feels completely different and changes everything about the characterization. How do you convert a nose that’s a single drawn line to a fully formed 3D nose?
Thankfully with a lot of caffeine and an incredible team, we think we came up with 3D representations of the characters that feel natural, capture the spirit of the show, and most importantly, feel “right” in VR.
How did your partnership with Adult Swim come about?
AS: Justin Roiland (co-creator of the show as well as the voice actor for both Rick and Morty) is actually a huge fan of VR. Before consumer VR launched, he had access to early hardware and was trying out everything he could get his hands on. We saw him yelling about Job Simulator on Twitter and how it was his favorite thing ever—high praise from such a prominent creator! After chatting on Twitter, I ended up at Justin’s house eating Indian food and chatting about VR when the two of us simultaneously pitched each other on combining Rick and Morty with Job Simulator-esque room-scale VR. It was a perfect fit—the IP, the writing, the art styles, and Owlchemy’s brand of physical VR humor ... but we like to think it was the Indian food that brought us together.
A week later, we were at Adult Swim pitching them the idea, and it was a no-brainer. Soon after, we were back in Austin planning for the start of development!
What’s the squanchiest part of the game?
AS: Portals are clearly the squanchiest element of the game. We spent a lot of time perfecting them. It simultaneously had to feel like both a seamless transition to another world and a mind-blowing, physics-defying magic trick. It’s such a key element to the show that we knew it was necessary not only to put portals in the game, but to let players actually walk through them themselves! However, it wasn’t until we added the secret squanch to our rendering squanch that it really squanched the squanch for optimal squanchiness in VR.
What kind of response have you seen while demoing the game?
AS: The response has been incredible! In our playtests, fans have been losing their minds and exploring every nook and cranny of the game world. It’s awesome to see people laughing while in VR. Fans of the show instantly recognize everything in the world because they’ve seen it time and time again in the episodes, and giving them agency in that world is a totally different and awesome experience. Folks love picking up familiar objects and discovering all of their hidden intricacies—like the elusive and magnificent Plumbus! There’s so much to discover and play with that fans of all different strokes will have something that really speaks to them.
What’s your favorite part of the game?
AS: Our favorite part of the game has to be where we put on the HMD and realize we’ve made a Rick and Morty game in VR! We kid, but the answer would probably change based on the day of the week. We don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but suffice it to say there’s a lot of opportunity to explore and uncover secrets. With the tools you’re given in the game, we’ve pretty much thought of everything—although we welcome a challenge from a player who thinks they can find something that we missed! Every single person from the development team has a little something they’ve contributed to the vast expanse of Easter eggs to hunt, and that’s all I’ll say about that.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
AS: Clearly at Owlchemy, we think that virtual reality is super rad, and we’re honestly just so excited to share our past year-plus of work with all of the fans. Big IPs like movies and TV shows have been fraught with games that feel more like companion experiences or marketing one-offs, so we really dug our heels into trying to build a real fully-fledged game for fans—since that’s what we would have wanted to see if someone else were tasked with building something with the Rick and Morty IP. There’s a ton in here that we think is going to surprise players and can’t wait for everyone to get their hands on it!
Thanks for the super squanchy Q&A, Alex. We’ll see you in virtual Rick-ality!
— The Oculus Team