You can have the ideal virtual reality (VR) experience right now, you just need to perfect setup. For driving videogames you can grab a steering wheel controller and foot pedals, sit down and you’re good to go. The same goes for flight sims and flight sticks. You can also do the same to replicate Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation; you just need a cut out of the side of a plane, somewhere to hold on and someone to hoist you up and hold you in position.
That might sounds like a fairly elaborate setup, but it’s exactly what’s been created in order to promote the most recent entry in the long-running film franchise, which is out now on home media. As demonstrated in a video below, a recent installation found in London’s Victoria Station allowed people to strap in and experience one of the film’s most exciting (and irrelevantly impossible) set pieces as if they themselves were Tom Cruise.
The brief experience sees you first step up onto a ramp by the side of the fake plane, strap into a harness and hold onto a handlebar provided as the second development kit (DK2) for the Oculus Rift is slipped on over your eyes. Once in VR you’ll watch an abridged version of the opening scene of the film in which Simon Pegg’s Benjamín “Benji” Dunn, Jeremy Renner’s William Brandt, and Ving Rhames’ Luther Stickell look on in amazement as Ethan Hunt (Cruise) jumps into action, leaping onto a plane carrying vital cargo and ending up hanging to the side of a closed door as it takes off. It’s up to Benji to open the door, but he has a bit of trouble doing so.
It’s here that the experience transitions to a virtual environment in which players assume the role of Hunt for themselves. It’s not a seamless move – the camera unfortunately faded in halfway through Hunt’s arm – but it does make for a dramatic entrance all the same as you continue to escalate, the ground getting further away by the second. The noise of wind rushing overhead becomes quite overwhelming, making the entire project something of an assault on the senses. A fan was meant to be running to simulate air rushing past you, though was sadly not operating in this case.
As you cling on for dear life the classic franchise theme tune plays overhead while the drowned squeals of Hunt begging Benji to open the door can also be heard. Though you remain stationary, you’re free to take one hand off the bar, but it won’t be picked up within the experience. It lasts for around a minute, and is perfectly comfortable simulation sickness-wise. Ultimately it’s a brief, amusing piece that won’t make you feel like you’ve stepped into the shoes of an action hero, but will certainly give you a reason to smile.
Like experiences for Interstellar and others before it, this is a fun way to market the latest Mission Impossible, if not matching up to the level of quality we’ve come to expect from full videogames and other projects. One could also imagine a better showcase for the franchise in the original movie’s incredible CIA infiltration sequence, in which Hunt in lowered into a room in which he must gather data without making a sound. Still, as it stands this is currently one of the only and thus best examples of VR making the transition to Hollywood.