Wrestler transforms Wellington into the world's first gamified virtual reality city 'Welltown'

Welltown_Description.jpgThe world's most livable city has been transformed into a rich, interactive and ridiculously fun virtual reality experience, the first of its kind globally. The city is walking the talk, backing up its reputation for creative innovation with this project, creatively developed and built by Wellington-based creative agency Wrestler, named NZ's most innovative company in VR and AR by Idealog in 2018.
 
The project was commissioned by WREDA, the region's tourism promoter to encourage holidaymakers with a sense of adventure and whimsy to visit, while also nudging expat talent to hurry up and return.

Says Anna Calver, marketing and communications GM, WellingtonNZ: "Welltown is about immersing people in Wellington's atmosphere for a moment. Letting them experience its magic and showcasing our creativity and lifestyle through new technologies that are being developed right here in the city. It's an immensely fun five minute holiday exploring a place that you might not know much about. But you should!"
 
Wrestler organised the gaming element around Wellington's tourism hook as a liberating destination where people discover new sides of themselves. A flamboyant, fabulous, fully-realised Wellingtonian guides you and your relatively underdeveloped avatar through a series of quintessential Wellington experiences, with your character gaining new strengths and qualities of spirit along the way.
 
The interactive experiences span a wonderful spectrum, from action-packed to sensory, from self-effacing to sacred. They include firing coffee shots at commuter zombies arriving at Wellington train station; standing on the seabed of Wellington harbour as awe-inspiring members of the region's marine reserves swim by; enjoying dawn chorus amidst the lush native bush that surrounds the city; busking with local alt-funk heroes The Orchestra of Spheres on Wellington's iconic Cuba street; observing Maori New Year, Matariki, accompanied by the sounds of local iwi on a spectacularly starry night; and witnessing the acrobatics locals love to perform at the diving platform on Wellington's waterfront.
 
Kat Lintott, Wrestler's head of VR/AR, gleefully admits they geeked out on this one.

Says Lintott: "We love Wellington, our hometown, and believe entirely in the city's ability to pioneer in the tech industry. So we gave it everything, to make this as innovative and fun as possible, while staying true to the essence of this place and its people. We combined our local instincts and storytelling background, with a wide range of brilliant new technologies in the fields of photogrammetry, 360 video, motion capture, animation and CG to bring WellTown to life."
 
Jeff Jones, lead VR developer knows that as a commercial product Welltown needs to be able to evolve and adjust to incorporate key messages and opportunities that arise for the client. 

Says Jones: "We built WellTown as a platform, using city-wide data supplied by Wellington City Council, that we can now add any number of games and experiences to in the future, and can always make sure it's up to date with the latest of what Wellington has to offer."
 
Creating such an ambitious project wasn't easy, but WREDA's Anna Calver couldn't imagine having anyone else in her corner: "It has been a wild ride working with the Wrestler team on this project. And I couldn't imagine cooking it up with any other company. The combination of their creative storytelling, technical expertise, willingness to go above and beyond and of course their love of Wellington has resulted in a gameified Wellington I almost enjoy as much as the real thing."
 
Virtual Wellington is free to download from the Steam and Oculus VR stores and can be viewed on YouTube. An android and iOS version are in the works. Find out more at www.wrestler.nz/welltown and www.wellingtonnz.com.
 
Kat Lintott - Head of VR/AR / Creative
Ray Gazley - GM / Account Director
Glen Puklowski - Creative Director / Script Writer
Jeff Jones - Lead Developer
Claire Barilla - Producer
Ben Forman - CEO

4 Comments

HK said:

Okay, interesting concept but the trailer is not a good ad for it. What's with the annoyingly written and vapidly delivered V/O?

MJ Said said:

That is truly awful

Petone said:

"The World's most liveable city" - cold, over priced, expensive public transport, low wages. I can think of better places,

Gamer said:

Yeah... Probably won't be playing that one.

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