Announcing new leadership at Owlchemy Labs

Today, with hearts full of love, we are saying goodbye to CEOwl and Janitor Alex Schwartz and Studio Director Cy Wise as they take flight to pursue new opportunities outside of Owlchemy Labs. We are grateful for their contributions to the studio thus far, and look forward to seeing what they both do next.

To that end, we are announcing that Devin Reimer, current Chief Technology Owl, will transition to the role of Chief Executive Owl (CEOwl). Devin’s been with Owlchemy since the early days, tackling every challenge along the way from the most formidable technical undertakings to the impossible task of making a hoodie stylish. There’s truly no better person to take the helm as we steer toward the future of VR.

Announcing new leadership at Owlchemy Labs: Devin Reimer (Chief Executive Owl) and Andrew Eiche (Chief Technology Owl and Cable Slinger.

Pictured (left to right): Devin Reimer (Chief Executive Owl) and Andrew Eiche (Chief Technology Owl and Cable Slinger)

“It’s a very exciting time at Owlchemy Labs, and the virtual reality industry as a whole,” Devin adds. “It makes me incredibly happy to continue my work in this new role as CEOwl, and I’m committed to ensuring that the studio continues to push the boundaries in terms of innovation and experimentation with the games we create.”

As Devin transitions to his new role as CEOwl, we are also pleased to share that Andrew Eiche will be stepping up as Owlchemy Labs’ new Chief Technology Owl (CTOwl) and Cable Slinger, and Autumn Taylor the new Studio Director, Marketing, KnOWLedge.

Leaving the nest is never easy, but we are proud and excited for both Alex and Cy in their adventures to come pursuing the future. For all of their work on this journey up until now— farewOWL and thank you!

We at Owlchemy Labs will continue to build absurd and highly polished games that push the boundaries of what’s possible in virtual reality, and are more excited than ever to continue helping shape the future of this industry.

Onward to the future!

– Owls

Bon Voyage, GDC! It’s been a trip!

Hello Humans!

We’re back from the yearly Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco! The Owls were out in force, sharing knowledge on talks, chatting VR on panels, and showing the first playable demo of Vacation Simulator!

 

DEMOS


We showcased Vacation Simulator in sunny style (despite the rain at GDC)!

This was the first-ever inside look at Vacation Simulator and we were really blown-away by the positive response. It’s always thrilling the first time you show a new game, but we were floored by just how excited people were to experience [VACATION]. Attendees had a blast taking selfies, scoring points in Net Ball, lounging on the beach, and spending a frankly ridiculous amount of time building the perfect sandcastle.


No shortage of joy in our booth: We couldn’t help but have fun demoing Vacation Simulator!

 

TALKS


Alex Schwartz (Chief Executive Owl and Janitor) and Devin Reimer (Chief Technology Owl) presented lessons learned from the development of ‘Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality”.

True to Owlchemy-fashion, we also presented a TON of talks this year: Carrie Witt (Art Director, Señor Artist, and Cat Whisperer) gave insight into the art direction behind Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality; Cy Wise (Studio Director, Owlmancer, Science) and Andrew Eiche (Developer, Producer, Alleged Certified Adult™) tackled accessibility design in VR; and our dynamic duo Alex Schwartz (CEOwl) and Devin Reimer (CTOwl) shared lessons learned from the development of Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality in their postmortem talk!

All of these talks will be available on the GDC vault in a couple weeks, so keep an eye on the Speaker page for links.

 

PRESS

Lastly, press have been quick to share their first impressions of Vacation Simulator!


Road to VR: Scott Hayden from Road to VR stopped by to see the game, and spent time with the Sandcastle Sandbox!


TechCrunch: We swooned when Lucas Matney from TechCrunch found our game “delightful”, not to mention calling us out as an argument to evolve the hardware landscape (OMG)!


Shacknews: The team at Shacknews stopped by to demo and grab an interview with CEOwl Alex Schwartz! They chatted about the evolution of jokes, VR drunkenness, and the future of the VR industry.

See the whole thing below:

All in all, it was a fantastic GDC! We met with fans and friends both new and old, snapped an absurd number of selfies, and even held impromptu juggling sessions!


Alex and Jesse Schell showing off some serious juggling skills.

We already miss everyone dearly, but the show must go on! Until next year, GDC!

-Owls

Announcing Owlchemy’s next VR game… Vacation Simulator!

Hello Humans!

We’re thrilled to announce our latest VR game: Vacation Simulator!

As per the Owlchemy way, we never stop jobbing over here at the Labs! Since the launch of Job Simulator, we’ve been hard at work prototyping fun, concocting spatial interactions, and quantitatively analyzing jokes for our next original VR title.

After pondering the progression of life, the universe, and JOB, we came to the natural conclusion: First you JOB, then you VACATION. Experience RECREATION, optimal RELAXATION, and classic human pasttimes like SUNBURN. Vacation Island offers all this and more so that you can discover the lost art of TIME OFF.

Vacation Simulator will be launching on Vive, Oculus, and PlayStation VR! Keep an eye on VacationSimulatorGame.com and on our social media channels for more details in the coming months!

Kick back, relax, and get ready to book your vacation in 2018!

-Owls

Job Simulator New Mode ‘Infinite Overtime’ + Price Drop!

Hello Humans!

You’ve worked the day shift, now it’s time to work into the night! Today, we’re launching a free content update to Job Simulator on all platforms. Now you can work the never-ending night shift with Job Simulator’s new Infinite Overtime mode– a free content update to the game! We’re also permanently dropping the price of Job Simulator to $19.99! Now, there’s exactly zero reasons not to experience the magic of JOB!

Infinite Overtime

Clock in to Infinite Overtime and meet TempBot— JobBot’s far less motivated nighttime replacement— as TempBot guides you through endless, randomized tasks. Each job has been updated to allow for a countless stream of customers as you punch the clock late into the evening. Check it out below!


Look, a teaser!

We’re super excited about this one! We’ve been working in secret on this update for quite a while, creating randomized bot interactions, adding in new mini-meta games, and updating our vehicular drift vectors. Each of the jobs in Job Simulator has been fitted with an Infinite Overtime mode, which includes new tasks, promotions and, of course, easter eggs! Keep at the nightly grind to earn promotions and desk flair to declare your dedication to endless jobbing. Even a human like you could one day be promoted to ‘Managing Director of Interns’! Also, we added fidget spinners, because why not?


We couldn’t stop ourselves from adding new stuff.

Anyone who already has Job Simulator will automatically receive this new mode in the latest update. Once you’ve completed all tasks in a job, you can access this game mode by flipping the Infinite Overtime switch attached to the kiosk in the museum.

We’re incredibly happy to be able to share this update with you! Happy (infinite) JOBBING!

-Owls

Owlchemy Labs and Google join forces for the future of VR

Today is a REAAAALLY BIG day for Owlchemy. We’re positively thrilled to announce that Owlchemy Labs has been acquired by Google!

Continuing Owlchemy’s journey
We set out on a journey over six years ago to build the kinds of games we wanted to see exist. Over those years, we learned that Owlchemy, at its core, cares deeply about a few key things: building quality multi-platform games, solving tough problems with a small but absurdly talented team, sharing our learnings with the community, and Austin’s famous tacos. Now, as we look to the future with Google by our side, we couldn’t be happier. Our plan to build awesome things will continue forward stronger than ever.

This means Owlchemy will continue building high quality VR content for platforms like the HTC Vive, Oculus Touch, and PlayStation VR. This means continuing to focus on hand interactions and high quality user experiences, like with Job Simulator. This means continuing our mission to build VR for everyone, and doing all of this as the same silly Owlchemy Labs you know and love. We are continuing to do all of this with even more support and focus on building awesome stuff. It’s incredibly exciting that Google and Owlchemy are so well aligned on our goals and vision for the future of VR.


A parliament of Owls

Humble beginnings
Looking back on the past couple of years, it’s honestly pretty crazy to think about the humble beginnings of Owlchemy, growing from a team of 4 to a parliament of 23 owls today! Statistically, most small studios that work incredibly hard and make amazing things still go out of business after their first or second title. We simply wanted to make absurd and highly polished experiences that made enough money to support the development of the next one.

We eventually started to crest the hump with some success (thanks to our old school Owlchemy fans!) and we began to gravitate as a team toward solving tough problems instead of shying away from them (like more reasonable people would). VR acted as an electromagnet for our science-focused brains as it presented us with the most expansive field of untapped potential and tough unsolved problems. Once we dipped our toes into the VR waters in the early DK1 days, we quickly vowed to never look back and build a flat-screen game again, and to jump headfirst into the awesome potential of VR. The studio was hooked and we’d found our stride.

Finding success in VR
Job Simulator was our overnight success many years in the making. We pushed in VR so early and so hard that we were repeatedly told we were crazy, but we knew that we would never be satisfied by making a “safe bet”. We ignored the cries of “But VR died in the 90s!” and we instead spent over a year envisioning what was possible with a tracked head and hands. After a ton of experimenting and prototyping, we emerged with Job Simulator as a day one launch title for HTC Vive, Oculus + Touch, and PlayStation VR.

Job Simulator

We were honored to win multiple awards for our gameplay and interaction in Job Simulator, and we were elated to see the game become the go-to VR title to showcase the medium’s potential (and for folks to finally learn how to JOB)! Our work didn’t stop there. Seeing a strong need to show VR to everyone, we pioneered a new way to show VR footage with Spectator Mode and built out a new depth-based mixed reality technique. By the time we launched Rick and Morty VR, thousands of streamers were sharing their gameplay to millions of fans around the world on launch day.

Building a great partnership
Owlchemy Labs makes things that are absurd, highly polished, and filled to the brim with terrible puns & jokes that we love making. We both believe that VR is the most accessible computing platform and that there’s a ton of work to be done, especially with regards to natural and intuitive interactions. Together with Google, with which we share an incredible overlap in vision, we’re free to pursue raw creation and sprint toward interesting problems in these early days of VR.

To the future!
Thanks so much to our fans who have been smuggling stuffed animals, chopping logs, surviving on desert islands, and jobbing with us over the years, and a special thanks to our investors and partners who believed in us early on. It’s because of you and your support that we are where we are today. We’re insanely excited to join the Google family and we cannot freaking wait to show you what we’re concocting next at Owlchemy Labs. The future of VR is extremely bright, so we’re donning our lab goggles just in case. 😉

<3s
– Alex, Devin, and the entire Owlchemy Labs team

P.S. Check out Google’s blog post here!