Words With Friends Creator Making Oculus Rift Platformer

We haven’t heard from Paul Bettner, co-founder of Newtoy and co-creator of Words with Friends, for a while. After he and brother David sold Newtoy to Zynga in 2010, he resigned from that company in the fall of 2012. Last year, there was word that he had started a new studio to concentrate on OUYA games, but since then … nothing, really.

Today Bettner has broken his silence with a highly intriguing multi-part announcement. Not only has the studio he created last year changed its name from Verse to Playful Corp., its first game is being developed exclusively for the Oculus Rift and will make its debut appearance next week at E3.

Lucky’s Tale is described as “a platforming adventure game experienced in the 3rd person
perspective,” which certainly has the potential to set it apart from other games early in this latest wave of virtual reality tech.

“This is not a port,” Bettner said in a press release. “We’ve made something new, from scratch — a made-only-for-VR game. The result is unexpected and surprisingly delightful. A platformer in VR? It’s a totally new experience, not what typically comes to mind when you think of what a VR game can be. I can’t wait to see how people react when they get to play it for the first time at E3.”

The team at Playful has worked on hit PC and console franchises like Age of Empires, Halo Wars and StarCraft. But it appears Bettner and his crew are all-in on the potential of the Oculus Rift, as they have another title called Creativerse that will launch on Steam for the PC later in 2014 before eventually making its way to the Rift.

“Virtual reality — I mean truly accurate, comfortable virtual reality — is the
most important thing to happen to interactive entertainment in decades,” Bettner said. “I know it sounds like exaggeration, but it’s impossible to explain what this is like to someone who hasn’t experienced it for themselves. Your brain is convinced that you are somewhere else, that you are in another world. I have worked my entire career to get to this moment, to create
something like this.”

It’s quite a leap from Scrabble-style word fun to VR. Anyone making the trek to L.A. for E3 can see how Lucky’s Tale sticks the landing by investigating the playable demo at the Oculus booth.

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