Meta Quest 2: Video game pioneers bring a games classic to VR
Roberta and Ken Williams are the creators of games like Phantasmagoria, Leisure Suit Larry and King’s Quest. Now they’re working on a VR game.
The couple founded the game studio Sierra Entertainment in 1979, which within a few years became one of the most powerful companies in the young video game industry and left a lasting mark on the history of the medium.
The studio was founded on the 1976 text adventure Colossal Cave Adventure (short for Advent), which inspired Ken and Roberta Williams to develop their own games.
Their first title, Mystery House, is considered the first graphic adventure game and was an unexpected hit. However, other influential games like Zork and Rogue would be unthinkable without Colossal Cave Adventure.
Advent: An old game in a new guise
46 years after the original was released, the husband-and-wife team is bringing Colossal Cave Adventure back, in 3D, in color, and for virtual reality. The genesis of this project is unusual.
Roberta and Ken Williams have lived in retirement for 25 years. In 2021, during the lockdown, they founded a new studio called Cygnus Entertainment.
“Ken was bored, and I suggested he write a book about Sierra. The process of writing the book brought back long-forgotten memories resulting in Ken deciding to learn Unity and deciding to make a game,” Roberta Williams tells PC Gamer.
“We had no interest in starting another company. We were just looking for something fun to build and I had the idea of paying homage to the game that inspired our company and changed our lives.”
VR version was a challenge
In Colossal Cave 3D Adventure, as the modern remake is titled, players explore the titular cave for treasure, encountering an array of old and new characters, some friendly and some hostile. The studio promises a wide range of puzzles and nearly 150 different locations to explore.
The game is coming in the fall of 2022 for Meta Quest 2 and for the PC platform for which it was initially developed. The VR version presented challenges for Roberta and Ken Williams and their development team.
“At first, we thought it would be a simple effort but quickly realized that VR is not as simple as just running the same old game on a new platform. Major design changes were required, and all graphics had to be thrown away and started over. Was it worth it? YES! Anyone who plays the VR version will be blown away. It is really staggering when you enter the cave,” the couple tells IGN.