One of the first Valve VR games is inspired by '80s fantasy films

The Gallery: Six Elements is a magical fantasy exploration game created by Vancouver Island studio Cloudhead Games for Valve and HTC's new virtual reality headset, the Vive. It includes motion controls and a soundtrack by Elder Scrolls composer Jeremy Soule, and at first glance it's a truly gorgeous 3D, puzzle-solving experience -- the game's first trailer, released today, shows that much. The Gallery was successfully Kickstarted back in April 2013, where it was pitched as an Oculus Rift game. Perhaps sensing a hit, Valve jumped on Cloudhead early on in Vive's development, Creative Director Denny Unger says.

"Valve has been stellar," Unger says. "They brought us into the process very early and genuinely listened to what we had learned about the VR space since its 2013 rebirth. Valve shared a common goal with Cloudhead Games in that they saw a vision for VR that was tantamount to the holodeck. This is the closest we've ever been to breaking down the boundaries and letting users physically step into virtual worlds. It is the fracture point all sci-fi geeks have been waiting for. It's here and its incredible."

Unger's excitement is symptomatic of a recent, optimistic trend in virtual reality prophecy. Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney predicted in February that the next year would be a "watershed" for VR, and that within 10 years, it would be indistinguishable from reality.

"To say that VR is an emergent technology is a gross understatement," Unger says. "There are experiences coming, just around the corner, that transcend the normal rules of reality. We are on the doorstep of a world literally filled with magic, governed by the user bending perceived reality to his or her will. It is both exciting and terrifying."