The live-action Ghost in the Shell (2017) film starring Scarlett Johansson is already in theaters worldwide, but Oculus has today published the VR experience so you can get a slice of the android-kicking action direct on your Gear VR or Oculus Rift.
Created by VR studios Here Be Dragons and REWIND in partnership with Paramount Pictures, Dreamworks, and Oculus Studios, the Ghost in the Shell VR Experience takes you on an on-rails journey of the iconic opening scene of nearly every Ghost in the Shell series to date, the ‘building dive’ where Major, the film’s cybernetically enhanced protagonist, jumps off a skyscraper wearing a hip-hugging thermoptic camouflage suit.
The digital representation of Major, played by Johansson in the film, straddles the uncanny valley somewhat, but the 360 action more than makes up for it as Major shoots her way through killer android geishas and bad guys of all types. Near the end, diving ever deeper into her mind, there’s a moment when you come to to a jelly fish-filled pool that’s nothing short of awe-inspiring.
What’s more, Oculus Rift owners (and Vive owners using ReVive) get to enjoy a real-time rendered version of the experience, meaning you get an eye-full of some pretty crisp graphics with the immersive power of the headset’s positional tracking.
The Gear VR version, while still inspiring, is a 3D 360 video—with all the caveats of the medium including lower fidelity and some weirdness around the top and bottom poles of the video capture. None the less, the Gear VR version is clear above average for 3D 360 videos.
If you don’t own a VR headset, you can also watch the 360 video on Facebook, although you’ll truly be missing out on one of the slickest film tie-ins in VR to date.
VR studio Here Be Dragons (ex-VRSE) is known for producing critically acclaimed VR experiences and 360 film from a number of collaborators such as The History of Cuban Dance, The Mr. Robot VR Experience, Catatonic, and The Evolution of Verse to name a few.
REWIND is an immersive media company known for several high profile pieces including a VR experience featuring Björk’s single Notget from her 8th studio album Vulnicura, FOVE launch title Project Falcon, and a collaborative VR project with the BBC to create a 15-minute immersive virtual reality experience Home – A VR Spacewalk.
Update 04/01/2017: article was updated to credit REWIND in the production of the Ghost in the Shell VR Experience.