[NUREN] The New Renaissance is planned to be an interactive cinematic VR experience, more than an hour in runtime, featuring original music and voice-acting. The project, which will work in virtual reality with the Oculus Rift, and on standard monitors, is led by artists Jake “Virt” Kaufman and Jessie Seely. The duo are taking NUREN to Kickstarter to turn their vision into reality.
This breathtaking musical odyssey begins in a future where humanity has become controlled and sedated, but such was the price of peace. CSP Industries has unveiled the latest in androids tasked with assuring that mankind’s minds remain untroubled and unstimulated. QGK and RIX have the added feature of genuine thought and empathy. This causes them to malfunction, and begin to show signs of an unintended human trait: self-awareness. In a world where provocations such as music have been banned for a century, this glitch has enabled them to sing. For this, they are forced to become fugitives.
Their on-the-run adventure of self discovery draws them deeper into a futuristic dystopia, and the industrial wastelands cast in shadows below. Together with escaped human rebels and long-forgotten robot models, these twin renegade androids ultimately find themselves bravely leading a movement to restore music and art to a peaceful but joyless world!
The cinematic VR feature—perhaps we could best call it a ‘VR musical’—will take the form of a real-time CG experience that “blurs the lines between videogames, film, and music,” according to CSP Industries, the company under which NUREN is being developed. The Kickstarter campaign for NUREN seeks to raise $70,000 to support a ‘core team’ of seven, along with an array of guest artists who CSP says will each design one of the seven chapters of the musical.
Rewards for backing the Kickstarter start at a very reasonable $10 which will secure you the entirety of the VR musical, with support for the Oculus Rift or standard monitors. Moving up the ladder reveals options to get your hands on the soundtrack, get access to the experience a month early, have it delivered on a custom-machined USB drive, or to have your image included in the world of NUREN, and more.
Among the core team is developer Justin Moravetz, known to the VR community for Proton Pulse and Vanguard V, two well regarded and well optimized demo titles for the Oculus Rift and other VR hardware. With Moravetz’s involvement, I’m confident NUREN’s VR experience will be spot-on.
This won’t be the first time that the pair are working together, Virt contributed several tracks to the Proton Pulse soundtrack (including my favorite, ‘Pulsar Beat Heavy‘) and has also made sonic contributions to Vanguard V. Additionally, Seely, co-director of NUREN, provided the vocals for Vanguard V’s title track, ‘Turn Around‘.
I stepped into the NUREN demo, which is available for download from the Kickstarter page, and was impressed with what the team has already put together as a prototype. There’s a number of eye-catching visualizations that cause the environment around you to pulse to the beat. Characters QGK and RIX are well animated, and the demo track ‘Broken/Perfect‘ is impressively produced. The lighting and art direction is clearly not an afterthought, using a style that allows for impressive visuals without dragging performance down.
I’m extremely excited to see what this talented group is capable of with the support of the VR and Kickstarter communities.