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Hollywood vets' VR shop releases its first animated short

The Virtual Reality Co. (aka the one working with Steven Spielberg) is putting out its first animated VR project, "Raising a Rukus," on Samsung Gear VR.

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"Raising a Rukus" follows twins Amy and Jonas and their newfound dog, Rukus.

The Virtual Reality Company

Virtual Reality Co., a VR production house attached to big Hollywood names, released its first animated piece, "Raising a Rukus," for Samsung's Gear VR headset Thursday.

"Raising a Rukus," about twin siblings who follow a peculiar dog on an adventure, is available in the Oculus Store for $3.99.

VR, which uses headsets to throw viewers in the middle of the story, is one of technology's hottest trends, attracting huge investments by giants like Facebook and Google. But the difficulty of finding appealing content has interfered with its mainstream traction. Companies like VRC are among those hustling to put a flag in the ground marking them as a leader in the new entertainment format.

VRC is best known for helping make "The Martian" virtual-reality experience, based on the 2015 Matt Damon movie, and for collaborating on another family-oriented VR project with Steven Spielberg.

"Raising a Rukus" is the company's first animated short and is expected to be the first of a series. It involves "branching" plot points, where the viewer gets to choose a character to follow.

"I wanted to bring those same elements that we enjoy in cinema but experience it in a new way -- be immersed with those characters rather than seeing them through a window," Robert Stromberg, the chief creative officer of VRC, said in an interview in March about the creation of the piece.

Stromberg, a two-time Oscar winner who's worked on "Avatar" and "Maleficent," produced the latest release. Also involved were "Guardians of the Galaxy" screenwriter Nicole Perlman and Skywalker Sound.