Secretive startup Magic Leap, which is developing a new headset technology that integrates computer graphics into the real world, is ready to move into its new office in Seattle that will also house a team of creators led by famed science fiction author Neal Stephenson.
Magic Leap, with Stephenson’s help, is currently recruiting additional producers and talent for a content studio based in Seattle, multiple sources tell Business Insider.
Magic Leap recently finished a year-long construction process to outfit a historic building in Seattle with the facilities the company needs. In the meantime, the company was working out of temporary offices, including a trailer previously spotted by Geekwire outside the office.
The Seattle office is where the company’s chief science officer and co-founder, Brian Schowengerdt, is based, and where Magic Leap does some technical research work.
But the location is also where Stephenson will creating content, or “experiences,” for Magic Leap’s still-unannounced product. Stephenson, whose library of work includes acclaimed novels like “Snow Crash,” was hired by Magic Leap in 2014 to be the company’s “Chief Futurist.”
We’re hearing that Stephenson’s projects have “a consistent theme” with the interactive projects that he has done in the past. One key employee at his previous game studio, Subutai, now works as a design producer at Magic Leap in Seattle.
In 2012, Stephenson raised over $500,000 on Kickstarter for “Clang,” a sword fighting PC video game based around custom motion controllers that ultimately never shipped.
And Stephenson was recruited to Magic Leap with a sword: Orcrist, a fictional sword described in JRR Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.”
“It’s not every day that someone turns up at your house bearing a mythic sword, and so I did what anyone who has read a lot of fantasy novels would: I let them in and gave them beer. True to form, they invited me on a quest and asked me to sign a contract (well, an NDA actually),” Stephenson wrote about his recruitment on the Magic Leap blog.
In the past few months, several employees have joined Magic Leap at its Seattle location, according to a review of LinkedIn profiles, including people who used to work for Microsoft, Valve, and Amazon.
Seattle is not the only place where Magic Leap is developing content for its secretive headset. The company also has content projects based in Florida, New Zealand, Los Angeles, and Dallas, Texas as well, a source tells Business Insider.
The multiple locations are to help recruiting, so that talent doesn’t necessarily have to move to nearby the company’s Florida headquarters.
A Magic Leap spokesperson declined to comment on Stephenson’s current projects.
Magic Leap has raised $1.39 billion from some of technology’s biggest investors including Alibaba, Google, Andreessen Horowitz, and KPCB.
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