CGO Studios has made a name for itself creating virtual reality experiences that immerse viewers in historical events. The company’s current project, Everest ’53, take viewers on a time traveling journey back to Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s monumental first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953. The project, which is being developed for the Oculus Rift and Touch controller, will initially be available later this year.
“Since starting the project over a year ago, we’ve constantly been inspired by these two historical figures and we are very excited to share their story in the most immersive and engaging way possible,” producer and CGO founder Jonah Hirsch said in a statement. The studios’ previous projects included stories about Anne Frank, and the Wright Brothers’ first flight.
Everest ’53 seeks to accurately recreate the conditions Hillary and Norgay climbed in and the tools and equipment they had at their disposal. To help with this, Hillary and Norgay’s sons, Peter Hillary and Jamling Tenzing Norgay, are assisting on the project. Both followed in their fathers’ footsteps in summiting Everest in 2003 on the 50th anniversary of the first climb.
Director Danny Abrahms (left) observes as Jamling Tenzing Norgay (center) demonstrates proper climbing technique.
“In 1953, they were climbing into the unknown,” Peter Hillary said. “Could it be done? Was the altitude going to be too much for our human physiology? And of course they were using old wooden ice axes to cut steps in the steep ice.”
Tenzing Norgay’s other son, Norbu, is vice president of the American Himalayan Foundation and will also be contributing his experience to Everest ’53. He added, “To relive and experience history in VR and know what it felt like to be the first humans on the highest point on earth, this project will be an extraordinary experience. It was at that time the closest man had come to getting to the moon.”