E3 2019 Interview: Gearbox Software Talks Penn & Teller VR

While Gearbox Software is better known for its Borderlands franchise, the studio has some quirkier titles under its belt as well, including Desert Bus VR. This was the brainchild of none other than magic duo Penn & Teller during the 90s. This week the pair are back with another virtual reality (VR) videogame (care of Gearbox) that’s a bit closer to home, Penn & Teller VR: Frankly Unfair, Unkind, Unnecessary & Underhanded. Unveiled during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2019 this month, VRFocus had a chat with the studio to find out more.

Penn & Teller VR: F U, U, U & U was certainly one of the weirder and wonderful VR titles to appear during E3 week, offering their unique brand of comedy and magical entertainment. At its heart, the videogame is a local party experience where players can engage in different tricks (called Bits in the experience) being taught by Penn & Teller. There’s just one catch, the Bits allow the VR player to be pranked if they’re not careful.

Without giving too much away, one of the Bits sees the person in VR playing a form of whack-a-mole. Best played using a table to hit, while the player is happily whacking digital objects someone else (if they’re feeling devious) could put an item in play, say an egg for example, which would lead to messy and humorous results.

VRFocus tried a quick preview of the title during E3 2019, saying: “What’s impressive about Penn & Teller VR: Frankly Unfair, Unkind, Unnecessary & Underhanded is that it really plays to VR’s strengths, offering an experience that’s distinctive and a refreshing change for some of the other releases on the horizon.”

So what did Gearbox Software have to say about the videogame? Well, VRFocus spoke with Jacob Lavender, Technical Designer on Penn & Teller VR: F U, U, U & U to learn a little more about how the project came to be and some of its features in the video below.

The videogame itself is due out for Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift/Rift S and HTC Vive on 27th June, priced at $19.99 USD, with a PlayStation VR version due to arrive shortly after on 9th July 2019. For further updates on the experience or Gearbox Software’s VR plans, keep reading VRFocus.

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