At Ubisoft’s E3 2017 presentation, the company announced a cinematic-focused VR psychological thriller called Transference. Launching in Spring 2018, the title seeks to “bridge the gap between movies and games,” and is being developed in collaboration with Ubisoft Montreal and Elijah Wood’s content studio SpectreVision.
Ubisoft and SpectreVision are playing it close to the vest with Transference, the announcement amounting to little more than a tease, but a truly interesting one at that. The trailer (heading this article) describes and implies a sort of transmedia experience, and the claim is that Transference will be part game, part movie.
Transference is the brainchild of SpectreVision, a content studio co-founded by actor Elijah Woods, famous for his role in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Woods functions as the studio’s Creative Director. SpectreVision has produced a number of film-based works, but this appears to be their first step into virtual reality storytelling.
In an interview shot by Ubisoft, Wood says that, “We have an opportunity with a very new technology, but also a technology with limitations, to push a little bit those bounds of what we’re used to within the context of VR.”
“We’re trying to take what makes watching a movie terrifying and unsettling—the emotional elements—and put it into virtual reality,” says Lisa Whalen, CEO of SpectreVision.
While Wood and Whalen seem to have difficulty describing what Transference is without giving too much away, the official site offers a few hints:
Bridging the gap between movies and games, we invite you to lose yourself in the destructive tale of a man’s obsession as you explore his digitally recreated memories.
Escape the maze-like puzzle of an impossible home concealing a corrupted truth. Meet the troubled family members and get hands-on to solve their riddle through a multi-branching narrative. You directly influence their fate and decide their future.
A PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER THAT MERGES MOVIES WITH GAMES
Starring Macon Blair (Blue Ruin, Green Room), Transference is a true collaboration between Hollywood and gaming. Founded by Elijah Wood, Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller, SpectreVision tell character-driven stories tackling emotional and human experiences that challenge conventions. Combined with the world crafting skills Ubisoft is known for, Transference is a dark, thrilling puzzle.
UNFOLD A MYSTERY AS YOU SOLVE THE RIDDLE OF THIS HOME
Explore a multi-dimensional home filled with secrets you can discover. Collect the evidence of a family’s history to choose how you repair their lives. Learn the rules of a home bent on breaking them to unlock the truth.
A MULTI-BRANCHING NARRATIVE WHERE YOUR ACTIONS DETERMINE A FAMILY’S FATE
Affect the world between the unique perspectives of each family member to piece together the mystery. The choices you make from every angle ripple through time and space, learn their story and make your own decisions about how they will live on.
FEEL THE PRESENCE OF CORRUPTED MEMORIES THROUGH VR
Join the test case and immerse yourself in the unsettling creation of a deranged mind with unparalleled presence. Come face to face with a fractured family as you freely explore a home filled with hidden clues you can reach out and touch.
The site also seems to reveal that the game curiously won’t be a VR-exclusive, as the listed platforms include PSVR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Given the emphasis on VR so far though, this could be a misunderstanding; we’ve reached out to Ubisoft to clarify.