Squanchtendo is one of the new kids on the block in terms of games development with their first project, developed in partnership with ‘Crows Crows Crows’, a studio headed by William Pugh (the creator of The Stanley Parable), “Accounting VR” being one of the most highly rated VR games available. So who is this newcomer and why are they so important?
Squanchtendo is the brain-child of the world-renown animator, writer, and creator of the hit series ‘Rick and Morty’, Justin Roiland. Roiland set up Squanchtendo after buying his own HTC Vive HMD and realising the potential of the medium, and the effects it will likely have on, not only the games industry, but also the entertainment industry on a whole, with several big shows already offering/developing VR projects of some scale (i.e The walking dead experience for StarVR, or the Always Sunny in Philadelphia VR experience). However, in reality, it takes more than funny voices to build a game, thus why Roiland has partnered up with Tanya Watson, an ex-Epic Games developer, having worked on Gears of War, Bullet storm as well as Epic’s upcoming title Fortnite.
Roiland is by no means new to the VR scene, however, with him already featuring in the biggest VR games released so far, Job Simulator by Owlchemy Labs and The Lab by Valve. Roiland featuring in these games added a lot to both of them in the way of comedic relief, and this shows what Roiland can bring to the VR industry, outside of just solid gameplay, he can offer well-written dialogue, well-constructed and timed comedy, as well as a host of professional voice actors, all of which are prevalent to a degree in Accounting VR. For example, for the point of voice acting, whereas most VR games will be voice acted by the devs using a £40 microphone in their bedroom , Accounting VR featured voice work from names such as Arin Hanson (Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mighty Magisword), Spencer Grammer (Rick and Morty, Robot Chicken) and of course, Roiland himself (Adventure Time, Fish Hooks).
On top of just their general expertise in each area, Squanchtendo also benefit from the raw artistic vision that Roiland and his co-workers offer, with Accounting being one of the best looking VR games made so far, and that’s not due to insanely high-resolution textures, or over the top lighting effects, it is because the game is well-stylized with a lot of artistic vision going into it, and I feel it’s always better to be put into a completely foreign world, rather than someone attempting to imitate our own (Uncanny Valley applies tenfold when in VR).
Overall it is hard to give an opinion on Squanchtendo or their future, with them having no upcoming games on the horizon, however, I feel if Accounting VR is a sign of things to come, Squanchtendo could be one of the companies (along with Owlchemy labs) to legitimise VR by making high-production content that grabs people, rather than wave shooters.