7:00am PT by Carolyn Giardina
Skydance, Sony Pictures Debut Their First Virtual Reality Titles
Numerous virtual reality productions are making their debut at SXSW, including Archangel, the first original title from Skydance Media's Skydance Interactive.
Also during the Austin, Texas-set confab, VR studio UNLTD is presenting a new teaser trailer for its first VR series, Trinity, which will consist of five 15-minute episodes. It's an interactive, futuristic sci-fi experience, based on a premise that humans are extinct and the last surviving androids must "fight a final war for freedom against an all powerful singularity, their God." Directed by Patrick Boivin, the series is in production and the pilot is expected to be released by the fall.
Skydance's Archangel — first announced at CES in January and scheduled for availability in July — is a story-driven shooter game in which players are dropped into the cockpit of a six-story-high war machine that must stop a tyrannical corporation from taking over a post-apocalyptic America. (Skydance interactive is also developing Life VR in conjunction with Skydance’s sci-fi thriller Life, which is opening March 24 through Columbia Pictures. A release date for that VR title is not finalized.)
Also at SXSW is a short film/alternative reality/virtual reality project titled Wonder Buffalo, a "coming-of-age story of a Thai-American teen finding acceptance and empowerment by taking on the role of her favorite superhero." The production was made possible through the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California’s 2016 Innovative Technology Award granted to filmmaker Christine Berg and writing partner Simon Shterenberg. The award provided funding and technical support for the project.
In related VR news, Sony Pictures VR released its first virtual reality project, Passengers VR, on Tuesday, timed with the digital and Blu-Ray release of the motion picture.
Based on the sci-fi drama starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt and priced at $9.99, the 20-minute experience begins as the viewer "awakens" on the Starship Avalon and realizes that there are critical malfunctions onboard. The viewer must solve a series of puzzles while navigating the many rooms of the spaceship.
Passengers VR was programmed and designed by Technicolor-owned visual effects company MPC with spatial sound design by Q Department. The ship’s look is based on the Oscar-nominated production design seen in the film.