VR Game Maker Gotham City Films Hits With Boxing Apocalypse
With a recent launch at Sportime USA in Elmsford, N.Y., and two more big location installs coming soon, Boxing Apocalypse from Gotham City Films is a virtual reality experience unlike most on the market.
Game maker Mario Simone, who partners with Beth Beasley on Gotham City Films, is in film production, entertainment marketing and graphic novel creation, mostly, but added games to the mix as a passion project.
“I just started a gaming division about a year and a half ago,” Simone said. “I always loved gaming and look at it like film production. I’m a gamer – I just want to architect a game that I would love.”
He decided to combine that love of games with his love of boxing, creating the VR attraction that is a social experience that allows people to fight without getting hurt.
“With this game, parents are playing, grandparents are playing,” he said. “You don’t have to be a hardcore gamer to enjoy what this game is about.”
Aside from their FEC launch at Sportime USA, the game is scheduled to hit Caesars Palace in Atlantic City and FunFuzion in New Rochelle, N.Y., this summer. MGM Grand has also signed on. The Gotham City Films manufacturing team is based in New York, which is why they’re focusing on their region early on, but say they are in talks with some 15-20 other companies, including Dave & Buster’s and other FEC chains.
Fun centers and casinos are the primary markets for the product, and it’s easy to see why: relative ease of use and leagues with competitive, interactive play.
“You don’t really need an attendant, but we typically have one to get headsets on people,” Simone said. To capture that social experience, not only are players having fun, but onlookers too, as they’re able to watch what the players are doing in the arena.
Just like most eSports, there will be individuals and teams as part of the league. “Friday Night Fights” tournaments and other such events with a $20-$40 entry fee and a $1,000-$5,000 cash purse, plus different prizes from sponsors. It’s really up to each location.
Due to the game’s relatively small footprint for a VR product, in addition to permanent locations, Simone says it will make for a great pop-up installation, especially around big events like an actual boxing match (he’s working on getting Boxing Apocalypse in the sports books at Caesars).
Something he’s building toward is a tournament where locations are able to virtually fight people at other locations – a Caesars vs. MGM tournament, for example. While he mentioned the casinos specifically, the same premise could be used at fun centers.
“Obviously, being in a lot of places is going to be a big part in growing our fan base,” Simone said. “It’d be great to have each place do their own tournaments, but what about a once-a-year, big-scale tournament with celebrities and thousands of people – maybe around a real fight?”
The company is also working on experiences where boxing fans can take to their virtual reality world against real-life boxers – strapping on the VR headset with a heavyweight champ instead of boxing gloves.
But Simone stresses, in its everyday FEC and casino uses, Boxing Apocalypse still works as a new and intriguing game that’s different from a lot of VR offerings.
“I think a lot of aspects of this game are particularly great in social settings,” Simone said. “There are very few head-to-head combat games in the VR world, and we believe it’s going to really take off once it hits an arena type stage and our fan base continues to grow.”