Steel Wool Studios Prepping Launch Of 'Mars Odyssey' VR Experience, HTC Invests In Future Projects

Steel Wool Studios is getting ready for the launch of its second virtual reality product. The company's first VR release, Quar: Battle For Gate 18, was an HTC Vive launch title that met with positive reaction from the Steam community. The studio’s next release is called Mars Odyssey, and it promises to take you to the red planet’s surface.

Steel Wool Studios went the extra mile to recreate Mars as accurately as possible, recreated using the terrain and height map information that NASA released to the public domain. (Like the data these guys use for creating VR and HoloLens experiences.) The company described the experience as an “interactive simulation that challenges players to repair NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers.”

You will be tasked with repairing the derelict Viking, Pathfinder, Spirit, and Opportunity rovers, which were all recreated using NASA’s engineering schematic information. The developer even took the care to place the rovers in the exact locations where they reside today. As you progress through the simulation, you’ll learn about the exploration of each rover’s covered region.

“The Steel Wool Studios team carries an impressive pedigree of creative talent that has already proven its ability to build cutting-edge content for the nascent VR category,” said Cher Wang, CEO, HTC Corporation. “Taking a look at Mars Odyssey and Steel Wool’s other projects under development, it’s immediately clear that this studio will drive VR adoption with great content that balances amazing visual fidelity with strong storytelling.”

Mars Odyssey will be available on September 9 through Valve’s Steam platform, but that won’t be the last announcement we hear from Steel Wool Studios. The company secured a $5 million investment from HTC Corporation to help fund its other ongoing projects.

“After earning our stripes with Quar, we went all-in on creating content for VR, a medium we’ve been waiting for our whole lives,” said Andrew Dayton, co-founder, Steel Wool Studios. “HTC’s investment gives us the ability to explore and push the limits of VR through the completion of projects we hope will excite everyone as much as we’ve enjoyed building them.”

Steel Wool Studios hasn’t revealed any details about the other in-progress projects, but it said we should expect some announcements “in the coming months.”

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.