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Whatever happened to Evermore? Plenty. Meet The VOID

By Cathy Allred daily Herald - | May 22, 2015
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Pleasant Grove Mayor Micheal Daniels gets equipped with gear for his Vision of Infinite Dimensions at The VOID center on Thursday evening. Planning commissioners and elected officials were invited by The VOID partners to see what evolved from Evermore. The Pleasant Grove Virtual Experience Center will open in June 2016. 

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The VOID logo in the entry lounge is also a digital screen showing different scenes that can be found in the Virtual Experience Center. 

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The VOID logo as see in the entry to The VOID experience Thursday evening. 

PLEASANT GROVE - Evermore Park has evolved and one of its offspring is the “coolest,” “most exciting,” “totally wonderful” business concept.

Those adjectives for The VOID, The Vision of Infinite Dimensions, are according to those who attended a reception Thursday evening and experienced the Alpha phase of the project.

“It was incredible, it was a fantastic experience,” Councilwoman Cindy Boyd said.

“It will be very popular,” she said. “It’s an unreal experience, new to me.”

The words were not lost on the CEO, Ken Bretschneider, who said they may have the next big thing since Google. While Evermore is on hold, the owners are fast forwarding with The VOID.

“The reception is we wanted to let Pleasant Grove, especially the city council, know that Evermore is not going to be here; but what is going to be here is amazing and to get excited about it,” CCO Curtis Hickman said. “They will be going in and shooting some robots, experiencing the world and solving puzzles. There is what we call 4D effects like wind and air.”

Companies partnering with The VOID are Xidax Elite Rigs, Optimal Design, Distant Focus Corporation and Unity.

The VOID cofounders — Bretschneider, Hickman and CTO James Jensen — invited Pleasant Grove city officials to hear and experience the virtual reality entertainment business they have developed.

A hybrid of a virtual reality game combined with physical reality on multiple planes of imagination, the platform opens up more possibilities than a theme park. Bretschneider calls it capable of “worlds without end.”

“Why play a game when you can live it?” asks the marketing clip online at thevoid.com.

The result is a complete immersion allowing users to walk through the Virtual Experience Center and not only see and hear, but feel and smell every sensation.

An experienced and successful entrepreneur, Bretschneider founded DigiCert in 2003 and sold the encryption company in 2012; became CEO to Peoplewater the same year, and is more than $15 million into Evermore, giving birth to The VOID.  

Bretschneider said their plans are to open their headquarters and the first center or VEC by June 1, 2016.

“We’re doing the same thing around the country,” Bretschneider said. “Our goal is to build at least 500 centers worldwide.”

And eventually upwards to a thousand, he said.

“One reason Evermore came about was to provide Utah with more entertainment,” Hickman said during their Evermore development in 2014.

The goal remains the same in 2015 to bring more entertainment to Utah.

“That is the great thing, it’s a game but it’s not just a game,” Hickman said. “In The VOID, you can explore new worlds, you can have magical powers, there are dreams that you can live,”

Some of those dreams can turn into nightmarish creepy crawlies.

Cindy’s husband, Gerald Boyd, was duly impressed by the experience. Absolutely “fantastic,” “incredible,” “realistic” were his choice in words.

“Your brain wouldn’t allow you that it wasn’t real,” he said. “Even though you knew in your mind, your brain tricked you.”

In his experience, he had giant bugs climbing on him.  

“It was really creepy, like the bugs were really on me; creeping up my arm, underneath my shirt, in my underwear,” Gerald Boyd said.

Bretschneider said The VOID headquarters will open on the same 45 acres at 550 S. North County Blvd., Pleasant Grove, that was purchased for Evermore Theme Park.

“It came out of Evermore really,” Hickman said. “We were designing a lot of attractions and a lot of fun stuff over there and one of those things was what The VOID is.”

When Evermore outgrew its space, the founders decided that one of the many attractions could stand on its own.

“It’s cool enough, fun enough and interesting enough, that not only would we get a lot of attention from people in the state but from the world in general,” Hickman said.

Initially, they had proposed a European Victorian-themed village, rides, creatures, pirate ship, shops with a promise of 700 jobs at the land of fantasy. The employees may still be needed for The VOID, although for a different fantasy format that is well on the way to reaching its Beta phase.

“Recently, we released our video and that was it, the whole world saw it and got excited about it and we couldn’t be happier,” Hickman said.

More on The VOID can be found at http://theVOID.com

“It was definitely an experience,” Councilwoman Cyd LeMone said. “I think it’s going to be unique for our city, but also a destination for our community and others and hopefully worldwide.”

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