Walt Disney Animation Studios has approved another “top secret” VR short after the apparent success of Cycles (2018), the studio’s first foray into VR short films.
The next project is slated to be directed by Jeff Gipson, the director behind Cycles, CNET reports. The news was announced by both Gipson and Cycles‘ producer Nicholas Russell at Sundance 2019 in Park City, Utah.
The pair is remaining tight-lipped on the specifics, although the project is “likely to also be a short that falls in the three- to five-minute range.” The project also has the go-ahead to use “Disney’s existing cast of characters in VR.”
“What Cycles is proving is VR is something the studio wants to explore,” Russell said. “The fact that they greenlit another one this quickly is proof that they might not know exactly what tomorrow looks like for Disney and VR, but we’re going to keep exploring.”
While this may be Disney Animation Studios’ second VR film, the company as a whole has been involved in VR for quite a while now. Starting in 2014, Disney’s Accelerator started backing around 10 companies each year, offering financial investment and a mentorship program at the company’s creative campus in LA. Companies to come out of Disney’s Accelerator 360 streaming platform Littlstar, 360 video production studio Jaunt, and location-based VR arcade The Void.
Disney-funded VR experiments also exited several divisions including Pixar’s Coco VR experience and Void experiences Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire and Ralph Breaks VR. More recently, Disney Games and Interactive Experiences debuted a Marvel-based VR game at CES 2019 that ties an electric Audi’s movements into VR.