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Beyond – making beautiful worlds

New Zealand Tech Stories

8 March 2024

Beyondc2022 Tabitha Arthur Photography hr 65017 1

This was first published on See Tomorrow First

Defying the stereotype of gaming being the sport of the social recluse, Beyond is a studio making virtual reality a new way to hang out with friends.


Whether they’re edging toward the metaverse by designing homes for virtual rabbits or enabling human connection in weird and wonderful e-sport virtual realities, Beyond is dedicated to enhancing connections in the virtual world.

Headquartered in Wellington, New Zealand, Beyond is a gaming studio founded in 2018 by Jessica Manins and Anton Mitchell. The pair are on a mission to enhance multiplayer games in the virtual reality space, making this burgeoning gaming technology more social and inclusive.

Beyond’s team of artists and developers use the latest software and development techniques to create visually stunning virtual experiences. “Making games and bringing people together is so important for us as human beings, and that’s a huge part of why we’re doing what we’re doing,” says Jessica. In late 2020, the studio was recognised for its creative vision and was presented with the Spark 5G Fund award.

When Beyond launched its first game, Oddball, the eight-player free-roam game was the first of its kind; the location-based game allows players to utilise their physical space while being immersed in virtual reality. In early 2020, the team sold it to Two Bit Circus, a tech-forward arcade in Los Angeles. They were told that the move was the gateway to success, and sure enough, people started calling. Everyone wanted to commission Beyond.

But then the pandemic hit, and spaces like Two Bit Circus closed their doors. The need for free-roam games plummeted, and Beyond had to pivot. As Covid brought more people online, the studio started to build consumer-based games for people who had their own headsets. The first bit of hope was a deal with video game developer

Weta, which planted the seed for what would one day be Combonauts. The virtual reality game, made for Meta Quest, is a perfect example of Beyond’s emphasis on fun; in the family-friendly, multiplayer world, you’re a spaceship-riding alien working for the Overlord.

Soon after recalibrating its offerings, Beyond undertook its next major project, collaborating with Futureverse. The two companies created four interactive 3D worlds called the Burrows for their ‘Flufs’, bunny-like characters living in 3D ‘Burrows’, and these homes are available to purchase, in the ever-evolving metaverse. Snoop Dogg even jumped on board and Beyond designed him a virtual music studio.

In the next five years, virtual reality and augmented reality are set to be worth around NZ$205 billion. Beyond has positioned itself at the cutting edge of virtual technology and they are currently developing an augmented reality game for the Apple Vision Pro. The nature of working in an industry undergoing rapid change means that Beyond is often developing for technology that doesn’t yet exist. They’re experts in hypotheticals, adaptation, and innovation. “Our motto is ‘find the fun, and then follow the fun’,” shares Jessica. And going by their work to date, there’s a lot more fun to come.


Visit Beyond >


This was first published on See Tomorrow First

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