Epic’s series of short films exploring the rise and maturation of the virtual reality industry reaches part 3. In this installment, the directors look to explore what virtual reality means to game developers in delivering compelling narrative experiences that move beyond what is capable now in traditional gaming platforms.
The film features Adam Orth from Three One Zero (ADR1FT), Jeff Brown from Oculus Story Studios, Alasdair Coull of Weta Digital and others talking about how VR as a tool has opened up new ways to tap into a player’s emotional response, albeit with some substantial re-inventing of traditional storytelling tropes and techniques required.
Adam Orth, Three One Zero says of his first thoughts on virtual reality, that “…it’s just gonna be more immersive,” but after receiving their first Oculus Rift developer kit quickly re-evaluated “What I was not prepared for was how the hardware was able to tap into real emotions in the people playing the game.” Orth goes further, illustrating perhaps a zenith we’ve now reached in tradition flat-screen gaming “Name a game right now without VR that can make you feel that way … It’s total fuckin’ magic!”
But on those challenges, Jeff Brown at Oculus Story Studios says “How do we tell a story in a virtual environment, where we can’t control where you’re looking? The viewer’s now the camera and we have to use other tricks to bring things to your attention.”
Although short and perhaps a little light on technical detail, Epic’s series of films are great ways to introduce people to virtual reality as a concept and to get them interested and excited in the possibilities. It seems Epic is building a series aimed at quietly cheer-leading a virtual reality industry in which they’re heavily invested and that’s most certainly a good thing.