At present most 360-degree or virtual reality (VR) based films tend to be just that, an immersive movie and nothing more. Yet some creators are trying to push those boundaries by including a narrative that can twist and change through viewer input. Signal Space Lab is one such studio exploring this medium, announcing work on a project called Afterlife.
A live-action film, Afterlife centres around a one family’s grief after a tragedy as they struggle to deal with their new reality. Challenged to find meaning a mother in denial, a daughter in search of herself and an absent father try to deal with their grief.
Viewers experience each storyline through a child’s eyes, with the studio using a new VR technique dubbed Seamless Interactive Cinematic VR which removes loading screens. The process allows live-action footage to be treated as dynamic content by enabling the experience to adapt organically to the behaviour of the audience, employing gaze-control to identify areas of user’s interest.
Careful consideration has been taking to ensure continuity and transition treatment on set, helping viewers entirely lose themselves in the narrative story without breaking their immersion thanks to distracting elements.
Featuring the acting talents of Hubert Proulx as Ray and Alarey Alsip as Emma, Afterlife will have 29 unique prompts that will alter the story of the viewer, ensuring thousands of combinations so that each playthrough can be different with multiple endings.
Signal Space Lab plan on releasing Afterlife in Q1 2019 for Oculus Rift, Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR, with other platforms added closer to launch. The experience will be split into three episodes with the first instalment being free.
The studio has previously worked on hybrid experience We Happy Few: Uncle Jack Live VR in collaboration with Compulsion Games and Gearbox Publishing. For further updates on Afterlife in the run-up to release, keep reading VRFocus.