Oculus Story Studio, the award-winning studio behind virtual reality (VR) short films like “Dear Angelica” and “Henry,” is being shut down, Facebook announced Thursday afternoon. The studio’s 50 staffers are encouraged to apply for new jobs within Oculus, but all ongoing projects of the studio are being cancelled.
“We’ve been looking at the best way to allocate our resources to create an impact on the ecosystem,” said Oculus VP of Content Jason Rubin in a blog post. “After careful consideration, we’ve decided to shift our focus away from internal content creation to support more external production. As part of that shift, we’ll be winding down Story Studio.”
Oculus officially unveiled Story Studio to the world in early 2015, when it also premiered “Lost” as the studio’s first narrative piece. In 2016, Story Studio followed up with “Henry” an animated VR short about a lovable hedgehog that won an Emmy for Outstanding Original Interactive Program later that year.
And earlier this year, Oculus Story Studio premiered its most ambitious project with “Dear Angelica,” a VR film that was animated entirely within VR itself and that featured Geena Davis voicing one of the two main characters.
All three films will continue to be available on the Oculus Store, Rubin said Thursday. For “Dear Angelica,” the Story Studio team also developed an entire authoring tool called Quill that allows animators to draw 3-D scenes while wearing a headset and that has been available for free on the Oculus Store. Quill could be open sourced, according to a spokesperson, but Oculus is not going to provide any active support for it anymore.
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SOURCE: Variety, Janko Roettgers