Since moving to Hollywood a year ago, Bradan Dotson ’07 has been into virtual reality—for real. Dotson is the production and marketing manager at VRWERX, makers of films and video games for the virtual reality entertainment industry. The company, a division of Beast Media Group, is located on the backlot at Universal Studios in Universal City, California. Dotson is on the development and production team for “Paranormal Activity VR,” a new video game to be released this fall on the HTC Vive, Facebook Oculus and Sony Playstation Virtual Reality platforms.
In the past few months, Dotson has been in the midst of a whirlwind of promotional events for the game at conferences, expos and conventions. He traveled to France for the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, which hosted for the first time a virtual reality pavilion showcasing the new genre, which makes use of hefty headsets, high-fidelity sound and powerful software. “We had a lot of visitors at Cannes trying out the game,” said Dotson. “Virtual reality has been a novelty for a while, but the technology has gotten to a point where it is finding its legs and is ready for primetime.”
The game is part of the “Paranormal Activity” film series created by Paramount but has its own unique storyline designed to scare the wits out of players, Dotson said. To play, they put on a headpiece consisting of black goggles with built-in headphones, and by moving their heads can see objects in front of, above, below or behind them. The game offers an immersive experience of scary sounds and sights that lasts for several hours. A YouTube video of several staff members of IGN, the gaming industry magazine, reacting in terror as they tried out the game’s demo has had more than 3 million views. When it is released, Dotson will be credited as one of the producers.