There have been a number of augmented reality (AR) apps come to market that explore the innovative use of the medium, but very few that intertwine a strong story element. Looking to change that is Apelab – the studio behind Dear VR title Break A Leg – which has just announced its latest project Ko’s Ko’s Curse.
Created using the developer’s real-time virtual environment creator SpacialStories and it Unity SDK, Ko’s Ko’s Curse is interactive fairy-tale aimed at teaching kids about the environment.
“For the Hopi tribe, Ko’Ko the Burrowing Owl is the sacred God of Death. Commonly named the ‘Watcher of the Dark’, he protects the underworld, the seeds, and the plants,” the synopsis explians. “One day, a feather from Ko’Ko’s plumage is stolen and he is turned into a statue, causing the plants and trees to stop growing. The user has to find the feather and place it back on Ko’Ko before the last branch dies in the ancient forest.”
The story narrated by actor, activist and zen buddhist priest Peter Coyote, who said in a statement: “It’s exciting to be asked to play with a completely new media, a new way of telling stories. This is a fun beginning, but just as the man who invented television was not as free and fluid with it as his children, we all have to start somewhere and this is a great start, giving anyone with a cell phone the role of co-creator in storytelling.”
Ko’Ko’s Curse is the first of Apelab’s AR stories. It has been co-produced by the Digital Lab at the Swiss Television RTS and will be showcased at Future of Storytelling in New York City starting 4th October. Alongside the smartphone AR app, a special Hololens installation using a physical tree is being built by the props workshop will feature at the Geneva International Film Festival.
“Augmented Reality is fun, social, instantaneous and an excellent way to tell stories that feel magical. To make it truly work though, an AR experience needs to be thoroughly crafted. We use space, and make sure the environment reacts to the user because in the end the story is for him and he will need some kind of agency. We try to use all the tools that a smartphone can give you as the driver of the narrative. There is still a ton to be learned, we are at the beginning, and it’s also what’s exciting for us,” says Sylvain Joly, Creative Director at Apelab.
There’s no official release date yet for Ko’Ko’s Curse, when there is one VRFocus will let you know.