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Reinventing game night

Resolution Games merges virtual reality with old-school tabletop gaming

Reinventing game night
The immersive VR title currently has three complete adventures with more planned.

Tommy Palm founded Resolution Games in 2015 with a mission: to create a studio focused on expanding the boundaries of immersive virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies to build games in which connection, cooperation, and teamwork take center stage. Having accomplished those goals with titles like Bait!, Blaston, and Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale, the Stockholm-based developer has released games for every major VR- and AR-device on the market. And just last year, the company (bolstered by $38.5 million in funding) broke new ground with the launch of Demeo, an ingenious virtual reality title inspired in part by classic tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons.

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But where D&D was largely two-dimensional (well, except for those polyhedral dice), Demeo is a multiplayer extravaganza that merges slick graphics and gameplay with the collaborative and social elements of a board game—and turns it all into an immersive VR experience. It’s this creative and community-based approach that put Resolution Games on Fast Company’s list of the world’s Most Innovative Companies.

“With VR, you can be in the comfort of your home and then instantly be in a social gathering, doing something that feels really meaningful,” Palm says. “And Demeo—in addition to being both fun and engaging—really shows the strength of social VR.”

VR FOR EVERYONE

In Demeo, up to four headset-wearing users move characters (across a virtual board) as they undertake a complex adventure involving multiple paths (and a bevy of nasty foes). The game currently has three complete adventures—including a quest that takes you to a rat kingdom located in the shadowy sewers below the city of Sunderhaven—with more planned.

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But rather than force players into a series of blood-soaked boss fights, Demeo moves at the slower pace of more traditional game-night fare, leaning on team-based problem solving to vanquish the bad guys. “Virtual reality and augmented reality should be for everyone,” Palm says. “There are so many games about shooting and explosions and things—areas we shy away from to focus on more innovative experiences.”

A BOARD-GAME RENAISSANCE

While the original game was developed with the then-unnamed metaverse in mind, Resolution Games wants to expand its user base: Its latest iteration, Demeo: PC Edition, is an exciting four-person experience that allows cross-play between both PC and VR players. Just as important: the three-year-long development of the first Demeo reflected the collaborative aspects of the game. As is the case for all of the studio’s titles, the process encouraged a free flow of ideas to help teams achieve their collective goals. “When great ideas come from everybody on the team,” Palm says, “everybody feels ownership.”

During the creation of Demeo, small teams (of less than a dozen) were encouraged to push the limits of what was possible in the still largely unexplored realms of the metaverse. “Nobody really knows what will work well in AR or VR,” Palm says. “So the best way is to experiment your way to something that becomes a great product.”

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This willingness to experiment played a key role in bringing Demeo to life. Indeed, Palm hopes the game inspires more developers to apply cutting-edge gaming technologies to older and more traditional ways of playing. “I think board games are going to have a renaissance with AR and VR,” he says.

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