Developers behind critically acclaimed VR games Job Simulator (2016) and Fantastic Contraption (2016) today announced they’re founding a new studio dubbed Absurd Joy. To give them a big push along their quest to “invent entirely new ways to interact, play, and experience immersive technology,” the company today announced it’s raised $4.4 million in funding.
The new studio (stylized as absurd:joy) was founded by Alex Schwartz and Cy Wise—both formerly of Owlchemy Labs—and joined by Andy Moore of Radial Games as a core team member.
Absurd Joy says its working directly with Valve and Oculus, and is being supported financially by Ed Fries of 1Up Ventures, WXR Fund, and Jaroslav Beck of Beat Games.
As its advisors, the studio counts Patrick Curry of FarBridge, Anna Sweet, and Chet Faliszek from Stray Bombay.
Schwartz and Wise, the former CEO and studio director at Owlchemy Labs respectively, developed Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality (2017) before its acquisition by Google in May 2017. Schwartz and Wise left Owlchemy in June 2018 to “pursue new opportunities.”
Moore, a 20-year industry veteran, is known for his programming and design work on Fantastic Contraption and The Museum of Other Realities (theMOR).
Absurd Joy hasn’t unveiled a project yet, and says that the process of experimenting and honing new interactions will be made public in some sense.
“The plan is to post GIFs, experiments, stories, videos, examples, and other random peeks into our process. It’s wacky, we know. But secrets are dumb anyway,” the studio explains.
Although there’s nothing to show today, Absurd Joy has outlined a few principles it wants to follow in its future experimentations, namely making AR/VR interactions more naturalistic and not forcing people to learn ad hoc concepts like unnatural gestures, making it fun, and breaking from the mould of using AR/VR as a games-only medium.