December 4, 2023

Grand Depart

Experienced In Technology

Video game company is using technology to tell stories based on Cape Breton’s history

2 min read
Video game company is using technology to tell stories based on Cape Breton’s history

One of the few video game developers in Cape Breton has teamed up with the Membertou Heritage Park in Membertou, N.S., to create an interactive experience. 

Green Robot Studios, founded in 2017, is a subsidiary of VMP Group. VMP Group, based in Sydney, has worked with non-profit groups and established companies to share stories of Cape Breton for almost two decades. 

Their newest endeavour is called Travel Back in Time to Kun’tewiktuk. It is scheduled to be released at the Membertou Heritage Park in Membertou in the coming months.

It takes viewers back to a time in Cape Breton before European settlers made contact with Indigenous people. Guests are able to shoot arrows, spear salmon and play drums while they navigate through parts of Cape Breton-Unama’ki.

A man sits next to a fire.
According to the Green Robot Studios website, Kun’tewiktuk is ‘the world’s first digital Mi’kmaq experience hosted by Membertou Heritage Park.’ (Green Robot Studios)

Shawn Green, the president of the Green Robot Studios and a founding member of the VMP group, said VMP knew from the beginning it had to tell stories that focused on the local area and that other people weren’t telling.

“We decided early on that one of the things that could separate us from a lot of the other producers and content out there was to focus on stories about this place, about Cape Breton-Unama’ki, and the history and the culture and the creativity that that really surrounds us,” said Green.

“It’s a key differentiation to the kind of content that can be produced elsewhere.”

large ships from the 1700s in a harbour
The Messenger is a virtual reality experience hosted at Fortress of Louisbourg. (Green Robot Studios)

Green Robot has partnered with Parks Canada and the Fortress of Louisbourg to develop immersive experiences in the past. 

It has helped people travel through time with virtual reality simulations, like being a messenger in the 1700s when Louisburg was thriving, or test driving Alexander Graham Bell’s HD-4 hydrofoil.

The new project about to be presented in Membertou has had its share of troubles. The project was started just before the pandemic, but wasn’t finished until 2021.

Although it was delayed, Travel Back in Time to Kun’tewiktuk will be released in the next few months.

Jeff Ward, the executive director of the Membertou Heritage Park, played a key role in making sure the simulation was authentic. He helped educate the team at Green Robot Studios about what life was like for an Indigenous person before contact.

He even played the part of characters in the game, and wore a motion-capture suit.

“It was a great opportunity to be in the simulation,” said Ward, who said he was happy to be able to do it in Cape Breton.

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