The long-awaited Kingdom Hearts 3 is due for release next week, and as previously reported, the first part of Kingdom Hearts: VR Experience is due to arrive today in Japan for PlayStation VR. To help with the videogame’s promotion ahead of launch Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) and Square Enix are giving PlayStation VR owners a front row seat to a special performance by Japanese singer Hikaru Utada as she sings two songs from the title.
Free for all PlayStation VR owners, the VR experience of Hikaru Utada’s concert, “Hikaru Utada Laughter in the Dark Tour 2018 saw the singer record two songs: “Simple and Clean” (the theme song of Kingdom Hearts) and “Don’t Think Twice” (the ending theme song of Kingdom Hearts III) in 180-degrees rather than 360.
Director Wataru Takeishi and Chief Producer Yoshimasa Takahashi explained in a PlayStation Blog post that the reason they chose a 180-degree 3D stereoscopic recording instead of 360-degree was two-fold. Firstly, and quite simply when you’re watching a normal live concert you don’t tend to look behind you, always forward, and secondly most PlayStation VR users are going to be sat down unable to turn a full 360-degrees.
Simple and Clean was the first song recorded and filmed on the main stage, with 20 staff members helping to film the performance. Don’t Think Twice was then filmed on the island stage in the centre of the arena, recorded from three angles with different cameras. For both songs, the team adopted a one-cut method; meaning the performance had to be captured in one take if something went wrong they would have to start from the very beginning.
Describing her performance Takeishi states: “Hikaru Utada is amazing; the feeling she puts into her songs, her facial expressions when she sings, and her gestures. In virtual reality you can really see the great care singers put into their work and these subtleties of emotion up close. VR users can experience much more than they would be able to just watching a concert or a music video, since they can see exactly what sort of expression the artist uses when singing certain lyrics.”