VR Experience Archipelago Coins the Term ‘Walkie’

Archipelago aims to bring interactivity to VR storytelling with free-form camera movement.

A new virtual reality (VR) title, Archipelago, has big ideas for the future of interactive motion-picture experiences. Now available for Oculus Rift, via the Oculus Store, Archipelago aims to advance the medium of VR storytelling in the same fashion as synchronised sound did for motion-pictures in the 1920’s, then dubbed ‘talkies’.

Archipelago screenshot

VR motion-pictures at present have one very big issue. Even when not striving for interactivity (a bridge very few have attempted to build at present) most VR stories limit the player to a stationary position with the action happening around them. Some interesting storytelling mechanics have emerged from this – increasing and decreasing the volume of certain character’s speech depending on who the user is focusing on, and thus potentially altering their interpretation of the story, for example – but the experience can often still feel shallow. Archipelago aims to change that.

Deemed a ‘navigable motion-picture’, Archipelago features 65 characters and more than 6,000 lines of dialogue. The player is able to freely control the camera position so, following the line of exposition mentioned above, they would be able to experience the story from many different perspectives according to the characters they meet along the way. The experience has an approximate runtime of 30 minutes, however you won’t see everything Archipelago has on offer in that time. Instead, multiple playthroughs are required to experience Archipelago to its fullest, which developer Walkie Entertainment claims would take upwards of 30 hours.

Archipelago is available to download for the Oculus Rift now, via the Oculus Store, priced at £3.99 GBP. Walkie Entertainment will undoubtedly be aiming to further their work in this field, but now that the groundwork has been laid many other will be looking to further progress the medium of VR storytelling with freeform movement. VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest from Walkie Entertainment and other advances in VR storytelling.

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