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Neil Gaiman's Wolves in the Walls VR experience set to premiere at Sundance

Contributed by
Dec 7, 2017

Neil Gaiman's 2003 children's book Wolves in the Walls is set to become a virtual reality experience that will have its premiere at the Sundance Festival's New Frontier exhibition.

According to Variety, the VR experience follows the plot of the book: a young girl hears wolves in the walls of her house, but her parents don't believe her until the wolves actually come out. Because this is virtual reality, an interactive element had to be created. It was reportedly one of the last projects taken on by the Oculus Story Studio team before Facebook shuttered the division. The team couldn't bear to let this project fall by the wayside, so they banded together to finish the project.

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Dave McKean's illustrations were impressive on their own, so the team had the challenge of matching them in VR. To do they, they enlisted New York-based immersive theater company, Third Rail Projects, to choreograph for the characters under the direction of Pete Billington, formerly of Dreamworks Animation. Jessica Shamash, formerly of Pixar, came in to produce.

To prevent the experience from being too passive, the Story Studio team enlisted the help of several game developers to up the interactivity. Lucy reacts to the viewer's actions, and is capable of passing "objects" back and forth. "We​ ​knew​ ​that​ ​we​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​create ​a​ ​deeply​ ​interactive​ ​character.​ ​Something​ ​that​ ​wasn’t​ ​passive​ ​or bound​ ​to​ ​the​ ​rectangular​ ​format​ ​of​ ​traditional​ ​media,” said Billington in a media release.

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Apparently, Gaiman approves. “I​ ​loved​ ​feeling​ ​with​ ​VR​ ​that​ ​my​ ​brain​ ​was​ ​being​ ​fooled:​ ​that​ ​I​ ​had​ ​left​ ​my​ ​body​ ​behind,” he said in a prepared statement via Variety. “​Everything​ ​felt​ ​very​ ​simple,​ ​as​ ​if we​ ​were​ ​watching​ ​the​ ​first​ ​films,​ ​or​ ​hearing​ ​the​ ​first​ ​recorded​ ​music,​ ​but​ ​there​ ​was​ ​no​ ​doubt​ ​that​ ​everything​ ​had​ ​the potential​ ​to​ ​be​ ​very,​ ​very​ ​different.”​

Wolves in the Walls VR was initially meant as a trilogy; however, with the official Story Studio team having been disbanded, there is no word on when we can expect the next installment - or if they are still going to make it at all.

(Via Variety)

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