Truth is oftentimes stranger than fiction, but because wide-spread, photorealistic augmented reality is still in the realm of science fiction rather than science fact, we usually defer to the storytellers and visual effects gurus to explore the possibilities. In one such sci-fi short called Strange Beasts, augmented reality is capable of delivering a realistic Tamagotchi game superimposed onto the physical world.
Written, directed and produced by Magali Barbé, Strange Beasts is a futuristic tale of a startup headed by Victor Weber, a games developer and founder of a fictional company that’s created an AR game that lets you customize, grow, and play with an AI-driven virtual pet. Parodying a promo video you might see on a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter or IndieGogo, Strange Beasts (the game) is made possible by a fictional pair of “nano retina” AR lenses that Victor says can project a digital light-field image directly on your retinas, a technology, that in effect, mimics AR company MagicLeap’s mysterious digital light-field display.
Victor then introduces his daughter, showing a heartfelt scene of the two playing with their respective fantastic pets, Walter and Bloobee. That’s when the sci-fi short leaves you pondering just who the “strange beast” really is.
Speaking to the UK’s Huffington Post, film creator Barbé says inspiration for the film first came when trying Tilt Brush (2016) in the HTC Vive. He then watched hundreds of videos about VR, AR, the latest game trends, the future of gaming, and Google Glass. “I guess watching all this put me in a specific mood, a mix of fascination and fear. I wanted to translate this feeling into film, so I’m glad that people picked up on it,” Barbé told Huffington Post.
“Of course, I have seen those videos where people are running around everywhere chasing Pokémon, and that definitely inspired the film. I generally love reading about science and technologies. I’m always wondering about what’s next and I like to read crazy or serious theories about the future of humankind… I’m fascinated by the theory that the future of humanity will be fully digital, and that it will entirely lose its material side. People see it as either the end or the future of humanity. It’s an interesting question.”
Check out the full interview with the creator here.