As we heard repeatedly on stage at Oculus Connect this year, presence is a big part of what makes VR great. The best examples of how powerful that feeling can be are frequently found in VR video, largely because a well-told story already makes you feel like you are a part of the experience. If you combine that with a fully immersive visual creation, deeply emotional stories start to happen all around you.
I've seen a lot of incredible and powerful VR video, but the folks at Future Lighthouse sent me on an emotional roller coaster with a new story called Melita that I will not soon forget.
For a VR story to hold your attention for 24 straight minutes, it has to really be something special. Melita takes you on a trip through the end of the world, but instead of the dark and grimy Blade Runner-esque future, this animated short is bright and pastel and just empty enough to really drive home how messed up this world is. The bright, sad scenes are accented by an amazing spatial audio experience that leaves you constantly moving around to see the whole world being explored in this story. Instead of happening in one place, Melita carefully moves the viewer through multiple scenes across bodies of water and snowy drifts to keep the story active. Even at the fastest point of the story, where your heart really gets pounding, you still feel like you have a ton of control over what you see in the world.
Without giving much more away about this particular story, it's important to know Melita is part one of a trilogy.
The story itself is only part of the overall Melita experience. Oculus Rift users will be able to explore the world and re-watch scenes from a "Dollhouse" mode that gives you complete control over where you exist as the camera. Viewers will also be able to take a look at individual scenes to learn more about the world itself, encouraging people to do things like pick up papers on desks and see what happens when you pick up the phone and put it to your ear.
Without giving much more away about this particular story, it's important to know Melita is part one of a trilogy. There's a lot more of this story to be told, but Future Lighthouse isn't letting on just yet about when the other parts will be available. Which is a shame, because this story will absolutely draw you in and leave you wanting more. For now, being able to explore the world will have to be enough.
Prepare to enjoy Melita for yourself on Oculus Rift and Gear VR starting October 24th.
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