TheBlu is an iconic VR experience that left jaw-dropping in 2016, demonstrating room-scale virtual reality. Now it’s back.
The original was released in time for the HTC Vive launch in April 2016.
You will face a whale on the deck of a wreck and look into the eyes of the majestic animalfind yourself amidst a coral reef and glowing jellyfish and sea turtles, or dive with a flashlight into the pitch-black deep sea where a gigantic underwater creature awaits.
You can freely move around the locations and interact with the realistically rendered environment using Vive controllers. It was a technical sensation in 2016.
As a reminder, the Oculus Rift, launched the same year, did not support room-scale virtual reality and came with an Xbox gamepad instead of VR controllers. With VR experiences like TheBlu, Valve and HTC have stolen the show from Oculus and Facebook. The Blu was probably the most played VR demo, along with Tilt Brush.
Swim with hammerhead sharks
Almost seven years later, studio head Wevr is back with a refresh of the VR classic.
A new version of the VR experience has been released on Steam, which is optimized for DLCs and comes with new features and content.
“We redesigned the product from the ground up to make it easier for us to create and share new episodes in the future, accessible as downloadable content,” the studio writes.
TheBlu is now accessible for free, with the whale encounter free and the remaining paid DLC episodes, including the brand new episode “Hammerhead Cove”. This one transports you to the Caribbean, where you’ll encounter peaceful hammerhead sharks and other shark species and fish in the luminous sea.
The studio also updated navigation and artificial locomotion to today’s standards, as well as added manual tracking support.
TheBlu is currently only available on Steam, but a Quest version is expected to release soon.
TheBlu becomes a platform
The team offers the prospect of more content.
“Going forward, we will continue to develop new, unique DLC episodes, and…we will open TheBlu up to creators around the world developing all kinds of new ocean encounters with myriads of species and habitats,” the team writes. .
Wevr has created its own cloud platform for this purpose called WVS (Wevr Virtual Studio), through which developers can collaborate and create new content for TheBlu. The updated VR experience was developed with WVS by professionals in Los Angeles, Florida and the Netherlands.
You can find TheBlu on Steam. DLC costs $2.