Time Magazine recently published its list of The 100 Most Influential People for 2016 and, to no one’s surprise, Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey has been recognised. What is surprising, though, is who sang his praises in the listing.
Ridley Scott, the legendary director behind films such as Gladiator, Alien and most recently The Martian, wrote a short piece about Luckey and his work for the annual feature. In it, Scott talked about working with Luckey and the Oculus team on The Martian VR, a promotional VR experience for the 2015 Matt Damon blockbuster. He noted the company is ushering in a new type of storytelling, speaking of the ‘gratifying’ experience of letting people experience the surface of Mars just like protagonist Mark Watney does when he finds himself stranded on the barren planet.
“Because of Palmer’s entrepreneurial and innovative nature, the needle for VR has moved from impractical to endlessly possible,” Scott concluded. It certainly seems as if the director could be keen to work with Oculus and VR in general again.
Scott is far from the only high-profile director to get involved with VR over the past few years. Pan’s Labyrinth’s Guillermo Del Toro has regularly talked up the tech, along with Hollywood stars such as Kevin Spacey and Eli Roth. It’s names such as these and teams such as Oculus VR’s own Story Studio that suggest films will be a big part of VR’s future.
As for The Martian VR, the experience was executive produced by Scott and was also made in partnership with MPC VR, 20th Century Fox, Fox Innovation Lab, RSA Films and The VR Company. The 15 – 20 minute experience can be downloaded on Gear VR. As for Scott himself, his next project sees him return to the beloved Alien franchise once more with 2017’s Alien: Covenant. We can’t help but wonder if there might be another tie-in VR experience that builds upon the experimental support seen in 2014’s Alien: Isolation game.