Yelena Rachitsky on How Oculus is Re-defining Storytelling

At Oculus Unwrapped Jason Rubin, VP of Content at Oculus VR spoke to VRFocus about how some gaming franchises work for VR as well as Oculus’s future in the VR space. Yelena Rachitsky, executive producer at Experiences at Oculus VR now adds to what Rubin said about Oculus VR’s future and tells VRFocus how they are working together with third-party developers, independent creators and large companies such as Warner Bros. Entertainment to create quality content for virtual reality (VR) that balances both storytelling and interactivity.

Although gaming clearly makes money from VR, Rachitsky explains that she has primarily been focusing on VR projects that are specifically offset from videogames. An example of this can be seen in projects related to well-known film properties such as Coco VR and Blade Runner that uses social interactivity to help bring the fans of the world into the film world. Rachitsky explains that they’re trying to see how VR can go beyond marketing for a film by enabling audiences to not just watch a film but interact with everything of the film around them. Another example of a VR project Oculus VR helped create is Dear Angelica, a VR film that was built out of Oculus Story Studio. The creation of Dear Angelica led to the Quill toolset wherein which the Oculus Touch controllers are used to create art within a VR environment, similar to HTC Vive’s Tilt Brush. It’s not only film that Oculus VR are focusing on to find the best ways of telling stories.

“We’re also working on a project right now that we haven’t announced yet. That brings an immersive theatre troop into VR. All of the acting was done in conjunction with this immersive theatre company to understand how can you more closely guide the viewer,” Rachitsky says.

It’s about bridging the gap between gaming, storytelling and interactivity. She compares it to how Facebook work with regards to social presence and explains that Oculus VR are experimenting and trying to bring new ideas to how to bring people together socially in VR in order to create memories together. Rachitsky is excited about where the language of storytelling is going and this is affecting not only the quality of content, but the manner in which monetisation works. The experiences are becoming longer in length, higher in quality and large companies such as Warner Bros. Entertainment are starting to charge for location-based VR experiences.

Although this distribution channel isn’t yet fully developed, Rachitsky sees the process of how VR is made to distribution in the film industry; she explains that films are first made then brought out to various platforms such as theatres, DVDs, digital distribution as well as other licensing deals. This may be the way VR content that is non-gaming will be distributed, taking the conventional filmmaking standards.

To find out more about new content that is being made for Oculus VR’s new headsets and what type of content they’re looking to support for future projects, watch the video below.