Verradia Beren's motto in life is "Why not?". Their bachelor degree in digital design led to game development which led to virtual reality – a last minute final-year challenge in something unknown.
“As a kid I didn't have any grand ideas for what I wanted to be, but I always knew I'd be some form of creative. I'm one for trying new things out and exploring 20 million different avenues before settling on one thing, only to move to another and another. And it all comes down to that “Why not?”.”
Although Verradia did provide a disclaimer for the motto: “it is not a good motto to have when you have a) terrible spending habits, b) excess money that you can spend, or c) goblin-like collecting tendencies.”. So like most things, good in moderation!
Freshly graduated in 2019 Verradia was feeling ready to enter the industry – and won a scholarship to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2020 in San Francisco. Then, "COVID happened. And the GDC did not". The pandemic prompted a decision to pursue a Master of Design, "Because "Why not?" it's not like we could travel or do much else". The project started about VR art galleries as a game, but with a great deal of effort and taking a deep dive back into their culture it became: "To visualise te ao Māori stories, myths and legends in VR, starting with the story of Hatupatu and Kurungaituku".
Seeing this could be an opportunity to enter the game industry with their own startup, Verradia joined CO.STARTERS.
“I wanted to see if it would be possible to conceptually start my own game studio while still in an academic and experimental space (completing a master’s degree). I enjoyed the classmates who all came from different backgrounds and fields/industries, critique and feedback opened my eyes to small things I happened to overlook, and I gained knowledge on how to start a business up, or in my case a game studio (starting as an indie game studio) as well as just how much is needed upfront compared to other standard service or product-based startups.”
"CO.STARTERS was a great way to get feedback but also figure out what things could work just by explaining them. It made me realise that while the idea can be good I actually have to back it up with work (shock horror!). I don't view myself as an entrepreneur whilst being a student but do see myself on the path of being one. I believe it may be the perfect direction for me at this stage alongside slowly inching my way into the games industry. If someone has an idea they’d like a place to explore, CO.STARTERS is a great place to do just that."
Verradia is nearing the completion of their MA (Design), and will then be diving back into their startup. We can’t wait to immerse ourselves in these stories!