VRFocus recently caught up with Kyle McCullough the VP for Digital and Gaming from SpectreVision, the firm set up by actor Elijah Wood and movie directors Daniel Noah and Josh C.Waller, to discuss why SpectreVision has moved into virtual reality (VR), the future of storytelling, SpectreVision’s relationship with Ubisoft and how it came to make Transference.
Transference, a psychological, story-driven, thriller videogame. The experience shown at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) last month was a prequel to the finished title currently in development. It’s due to be released for the Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and HTC Vive in Spring 2018. Aiming to blur the lines between movies, players are asked to explore memories of man’s life by travelling between different moments of his existence.
Nina Salomons asks McCullough about why SpectreVision moved into VR: “From SpectreVision coming from the filmmaking world, we’ve done movies like A Girl walks home alone at Night (2014), The Boy, Cooties (2014), The Greasy Strangler (2016) and all of these really unique stories. We like to tell unique stories in unique ways and so VR was obviously the next path to continue to tell unique stories and hopefully more unique ways.”
Spectrevision didn’t have a goal when the company approached Ubisoft a couple of years ago at E3, just knowing they wanted to something in VR. McCullough explains that “it’s become very clear to us now that games are totally where those stories are told.” He points that that interactivity, which is so key in gaming is integral for good storytelling in virtual reality. So will storytelling change? McCullough believes it will always stay the same structure that it’s been from the beginning of time, however with virtual reality comes a whole new set of tools. These tools can be used to tell new inventive ways for storytelling. By offering immersion it really does seem like you can tap into someone’s mind more than the conventional two dimensional screen.
SpectreVision started doing workshops in Montreal with the Ubisoft’s Fun House team and quickly started to develop the story behind Transference. SpectreVision worked on the narrative, the design and bringing emotions to the game. McCullough explains that “the story itself is totally dependent on the ideas of virtual reality in order to get it’s point across.” The close collaboration with Ubisoft means that the narrative and game are one and the same, with no clear division between the two.
The biggest lessons he’s learned in virtual reality are many, but the one thing he’s had to learn the most is keeping audience engagement in VR as well as trying to keep a player to stay there for the full experience. Watch the video below to find out more.