Prime Minister opens Weta Workshop's world-leading mixed reality facility

In another creative first, Weta Workshop has today officially opened its newest facility, Weta Gameshop, thought to be the world’s first specialist mixed reality development studio dedicated to creating new content for Magic Leap.

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Located a stone’s throw from Weta Workshop in the Wellington suburb of Miramar, Weta Workshop’s new division is working on a flagship game for Magic Leap’s soon to be released technology; Magic Leap One. Currently in advanced stages of development, the next generation game, titled Dr. Grordbort's Invaders, is being co-produced by Weta Workshop and Magic Leap and is based around the science fiction world of Dr. Grordbort, the brainchild of Weta Gameshop’s Game Director, Greg Broadmore, in development with Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger over the past eight years.

Weta Workshop and Magic Leap have been working in close partnership to build mixed reality experiences, bringing extraordinary characters and imaginary worlds to life to forge a new realm of entertainment and experiential storytelling. Magic Leap’s spatial computing platform, which aims to seamlessly blend the digital and physical worlds, will be released in 2018.

Weta Workshop’s brand-new facility was officially opened today by New Zealand Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage, the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, accompanied by Weta Workshop founders Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger and Weta Gameshop’s crew of 50 staff.

The Prime Minister said Weta Workshop’s new studio was an example of Wellington and New Zealand’s position at the cutting edge of the rapid development of mixed reality applications for gaming, entertainment and into education, healthcare and communication.

“Their ground-breaking partnership with Magic Leap is another feather in the cap for Weta Workshop whose creativity crosses so many different fields. It’s also an example of Kiwi creators and innovators being sought out for their talent and fresh approaches.

I congratulate Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger and their talented team on their achievements and wish them all the best for the delivery of their new game, which I had the privilege to test drive in a private demonstration.”

Richard Taylor said the official opening of the studio was the culmination of seven years of development work with Magic Leap.

“Through a relationship we struck up with founder Rony Abovitz, Weta Workshop was one of the earliest companies to partner with Magic Leap and we have had the honour of not only helping to shape the first game to run on the Magic Leap platform, but to contribute to the development of the Magic Leap platform itself. It has been a terrific experience for us all.”

Richard also sits on the board of the Florida-based Magic Leap and acts as the company’s Arts Ambassador to China.

The Weta Gameshop team is a collaborative mix of Weta Workshop creatives and storytellers and Magic Leap technologists, and everything in-between. It’s a multidisciplinary blended team that dreams big and is forging the future for spatial computing entertainment.

Weta Gameshop’s Game Director and creator of Dr. Grordbort’s, Greg Broadmore, was inspired by the creative opportunities enabled by Magic Leap’s pioneering technology and set about building a team to evolve Dr. Grordbort’s from its origins in comics and collectibles into a full living and breathing mixed reality game.

“Building our game on Magic Leap’s astounding new tech and having a role in shaping the platform itself has been the hardest but most rewarding challenge of our creative lives - by orders of magnitude. It’s a creator's dream to see your characters and worlds come to life, and to see them inhabit your own home, your own space is truly mind-bending.”

Weta Gameshop's Executive Producer, Hayley Gray, says the future of spatial computing is incredibly exciting.

“Our team has been developing on the Magic Leap platform longer than anyone else which has given us a unique view into the potential of this new technology.

“It has been a huge opportunity to work collaboratively with our Magic Leap partners and build a team of experts from the ground up with Weta Workshop and Magic Leap DNA, while also getting to tell stories and bring characters to life – this time in the real world - for the first time.”

Weta Workshop General Manager David Wilks says the team is incredibly proud of what has been achieved here in Wellington.

“All of us at Weta Workshop are creators at heart. So being able to pioneer the first games and experiences on the Magic Leap platform is a huge opportunity to continue Weta Workshop’s creative endeavours on the world stage.”

The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, with the crew of Weta Gameshop.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tours the new Gameshop facility. From left: Game Director Greg Broadmore, Senior Producer Phil Maskell, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Co-founder & Creative Director Richard Taylor, and Executive Producer Hayley Gray.

From left: Game Director Greg Broadmore, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Executive Producer Hayley Gray, Co-founder & Creative Director Richard Taylor.

Copyright 2018 Weta Workshop