Those invested in the virtual reality (VR) community will likely be well aware of Kent Bye and his ‘Voices of VR’ series, in which he interviews key members of the VR industry. VRFocus‘ own Kevin Joyce featured on the podcast last year, for example. But Bye isn’t just talking to other VR developers; he’s also working with his own team to create a new entry into Oculus VR’s ongoing Mobile VR Jam, which is seeking new videogames and experiences for the Gear VR smartphone-based head-mounted display (HMD). A video of the project can be seen below.
Bye’s team is developing a project known as Crossover, which is described as a multi-threaded immersive theatre experience for VR. This is a unique experiment within VR storytelling in which players follow five characters, four of which are ghosts and the other being a human. Taking place entirely within a three room house, viewers follow these characters, as the human helps the ghosts with unresolved grief, allowing them to eventually ‘crossover’ to the other side.
But Crossover isn’t a story that viewers can fully experience in one sitting. As the plot unfolds across three acts, users are given the freedom to travel between any of the three rooms by simply looking at a map of the house below them at any time and selecting which room to head to. Each room will have at least one of the characters in it at any one time, meaning viewers are always missing out on two other scenes. The audience may choose to follow one particular character throughout one run through of the story or monitor one room first before moving to others in later viewings.
Describing the project as Sleep No More meets Sixth Sense in VR, Bye hopes to inspire multiple views of Crossover, with audiences sparking conversations about the narrative in-between. The developer also hopes to highlight the idea that cinematic VR need not necessarily be on-rails.
Crossover appears to be one of the few entries into the Mobile VR Jam revealed so far for the ‘apps’ section. The grand prize in this category is $100,000 USD, with runner ups earning $50,000, $30,000 and $10,000 respectively. VRFocus will continue to follow Crossover and all other Jam entrants.