Interview with Robyn Gray
Experienced creative director with a demonstrated history of designing and creating interactive experiences. Skilled in UX design, narrative design, UI design, and engineering. Strong entrepreneurship professional with a Masters of Fine Arts in Interactive Media from University of Southern California. Otherworld Interactive
creates new and enthralling experiences. We specialize in Virtual Reality, interactive media, and immersive storytelling. We create worlds for virtual reality and digital media with the
primary goal of delivering impactful and compelling moments.
What's next for Otherworld Interactive, as well as your own career?
So in the next couple of weeks will actually be releasing ‘Taco Sloth’ our next daydream game out into the world which is super exciting. From there, as always, as independent content creators, we're seeking funding for our next latest and greatest awesome VR story. Personally, I'm hoping by the end of this year I'll be releasing my indie game ‘Apartment in a Separate Place’ with my partner Richard Ems on to steam and desktop machines. Then I'm not sure where else the future holds but I know that I'm looking forward to continuing to create really cool exciting narrative content that will hopefully have a positive impact on people and show them something new, and different, and interesting.
How has being nominated for Forbes 30 Under 30 affected your career? What was your reaction to finding out you'd been nominated?
So as a creator and independent business owner I don't think Forbes 30 under 30 has really affected or changed my career at all. It was really flattering to find out I had been nominated, a lot of people that are respected and games have been on it in the past. And that's always a cool thing to hang your hat on. But other than that I don't think it's really changed anything in our in our business wheeling and dealings yet.
How many people currently work for Otherworld Interactive? What fields do they come from?
So our team size tends to fluctuate depending on what we're working on at the time. At the peak, we had about 20 people in the office working on two-three projects. Currently, we have about half a dozen working to wrap up our newest game ‘Taco Sloth and the Daydream’. Because we're essentially a game studio, we have a highly interdisciplinary team consisting of Engineers 2D artist, 3D artists, an audio person, writers and I really think this is super valuable to getting a well-balanced product. That really speaks to a lot of people.
What have been the biggest projects produced by Otherworld Interactive since the company was founded in 2014?
It's our most famous project is probably Sisters which is a mobile experience that will be released on Google Cardboard back in early 2015 and probably has over 6 million views at this point and tons and tons of people YouTube being each other playing it. That's our original scary doll experience in terms of name or other brand recognition. We've also done work for the Mattel in collaboration with the Smithsonian to create an educational experience on their VR. And we also got an opportunity to create a VR trailer teaser for the Blair Witch Project with Lionsgate studios.
What was the most valuable skill you learned while studying Interactive Media at USC? How much impact did this degree have on your current work?
I've actually come from a number of interactive programs including in my undergraduate studies the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon where I got a chance to learn under people like Jesse Schell. I think with all of these programs it was skills they took away that were the most valuable but rather the people I got a chance to collaborate with especially my classmates. The people that you learn within these programs, the people that you hopefully find that you work really well together with are really the people who will impact your future and your future work. For me, my main projects, Otherworld Interactive with my partner Andy Goldstein and apartment a separate place with my partner Richard Adams are both massive undertakings in my adult life and have gone on to shape other things that I've created and worked on and the ways that I have thought about these things. So without either of these guys. I think everything that I would do today would be a lot different.
Could you please introduce Otherworld Interactive and what led to your co-founding the company?
The world Interactive is a VR content studio located in Los Angeles California. We do a combination of independent work and contract work and we're best known for our franchise called 'Sisters' which is about a pair of scary haunted dolls and a haunted mansion. My business partner and co-founder Andy Goldstein and I founded the world interactive when we graduated from graduate school at USC and their interactive media department. VR had just started at the time and we saw an opportunity to create our own original content and for it to be seen which is a really rare opportunity in the content field.