8:30am PT by Chris E. Hayner
FX's 'Legion' Mixed Reality Experience Is the Strangest Activation at Comic-Con
While virtual reality is all the rage in gaming, FX decided to take one step forward with its Legion experience, Sessions, at San Diego Comic-Con. Using Microsoft Hololens technology, fans of Legion are immersed into the show's world in the role of David Haller (Dan Stevens) as his powers are put to the test.
Utilizing the augmented reality of the Hololens, along with live actors, Sessions is a truly unique experience and one that's not easy to explain. Upon entering the activation, inside FX's FXhibition, you are fitted with the headset and help calibrate it. That's when the fun begins.
After being escorted into an office, you are told by an attendant that you'll be revisiting a past memory. In that memory, the extent of your powers are examined as you levitate and teleport objects. Something doesn't quite add up. Much like David himself on Legion, you begin to hear voices in your head, questioning whether or not this is how the events actually unfolded in your memory.
Likewise, pictures on the wall that you're asked to describe begin to change. The entire experience becomes confusing and disorienting, and while you may be questioning whether or not something is malfunctioning, it's this frame of mind Sessions wants you to be in: questioning everything and very suspicious.
It's at this point that you suddenly hear the voice of Syd (Rachel Keller), David's girlfriend. She explains that the memory you're experiencing isn't what it seems. In fact, it's been implanted in your brain. That's when the reality part of this mixed reality experience begins to unravel.
Syd takes control of your interviewer's mind, promising to get you out of this situation and memory alive. She doesn't take the attendant who led you into the room into account, though. As said attendant begins questioning what's happening, the interviewer quickly tries to dismiss you from the room, only to reveal the attendant's head has become engorged and distorted, resembling something closer to the evil Shadow King than an actual human being. It's at that point that you leave through a hidden door in the room, ending your experience.
As far as immersion goes, Sessions does a great job of dropping you right into the narrative of David, and the actors surrounding you in the experience are the right mix of tense and cordial to make you believe you truly are something special, that you might just have these powers.
Given that virtual reality activations are nothing new at Comic-Con, it's good to see FX stretching beyond the norm to incorporate new technology. Mixing computer graphics with live actor and physical environments creates a new sensory experience. And quite honestly, it's one that feels very similar to the "Playtest" episode of Black Mirror — just without the immediately dying part.
What's more, if you're a fan of Legion, this experience might just help make the wait for new episodes a bit easier to handle.