Sqaure Enix just released Tales of Wedding Rings VR, an experience for Rift that lets you engage with the popular Japanese Manga in a whole new way.
Expertly blending 3D rendered anime with traditional manga, Tales of Wedding Rings VR takes you through the story of Satou, a mild-mannered high school student, and Hime, a self-proclaimed princess from a world unlike our own.
Cast in the iconic monochrome tone familiar to manga fans, you’ll follow Satou as he traverses fully realized 3D environments and makes the difficult decision to give into his unrequited for Hime—all shot through what Square Enix calls a ‘LiveWindow’ which takes the standard static manga frame shots and pushes it to its logical extreme with its sweeping camera shots, closeups, and 360 environments that envelope the user so you experience the story in the first person.
To boot, since you have a frame as context during moving scenes, it’s an extremely comfortable way of watching the action unfold.
The entire story takes around 30 minutes to watch, and includes the original Japanese voice overs accompanied by speech bubbles, either in Japaneses or English. While I’m not really one for manga love stories, Tales of Wedding Rings VR is a truly a revolutionary way of experiencing a narrative from the third-person perspective. As an opening gambit, Tales of Wedding Rings VR is incredibly high quality as well, giving it the potential to spark an entire VR manga genre based on the experience’s innovative melding of written word and 3D action.
According to an Oculus blogpost, the Project Hikari team spent “years designing a signature sound for Tales, complete with original score and sound effects, all recorded on-location in Japan.” An ensemble cast of voice actors, motion capture, and immersive spatial audio truly bring the manga to life.
“After months of prototyping, it became clear to me that VR would evolve into a gateway to new worlds,” says Project Hikari Lead Kaei Sou. “I was convinced these new worlds could be filled with rich narratives that capture people’s imagination.
Sou continues: “As a fan [of the manga], I’m always excited to experience my favorite titles in a new way,” notes Sou. “It’s important to me such adaptations remain true to the source material. This was the number one goal of the project—to make sure we don’t disappoint fans of the original work.”
Tales of Wedding Rings VR is now available on Rift for $20, and while it may be a steep price for some, it’s a remarkable step forward in storytelling tech to say the least.