‘La Péri’ Reborn As ‘Firebird’ Series Inspired By Disney’s ‘Fantasia’

by Ian Hamilton • August 19th, 2016

One of the most artfully directed virtual reality experiences we’ve ever had is getting a major update as Innerspace VR formally releases La Péri today.

Originally released in April on Steam early access for the HTC Vive, La Péri puts you on stage during the ballet of a mysterious spirit. Actor John Rhys-Davies (Gimli from Lord of the Rings) narrates the update, which includes a number of improvements that pull it together into a more fully realized 15-minute immersive story.

La Péri stands apart from a sea of VR games (it’s not a game and features only light interaction) as a $10 work of art inspired by Disney’s Fantasia. Where interaction is used, though, it’s done so in a way that could bring people to tears, or at least give them goosebumps. A dancer’s performance was captured using a high-end motion capture system and incorporated into the core of the experience by director Balthazar Auxietre. It’s all set to the titular song La Péri by Paul Dukas, who also created The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

“We have a whole slate of short interactive/narrative experiences already written that will link up with this one,” Auxietre told Upload about the plan to adapt the story into a series known as Firebird. “The idea is to have a ‘suite’ of pieces ‘à la Fantasia‘ with an overall aesthetic, mood and musical style but where each piece has its own story and unique interactive element.”

Auxietre is still looking for funding (he’s asking investors to reach out via email) for these next pieces. La Péri is priced roughly in line with the Apollo 11 VR experience. What Immersive VR Education does with Apollo 11 for people in awe of space travel, Innerspace VR does with La Péri for people with an appreciation for live stage performance.

Innerspace VR was started in 2014 and has built a number of experimental VR projects on the path toward Firebird, including an experience about North Korea called DMZ and The Fifth Sleep. Rounding out the story Rhys-Davies narrates in the update is an in-game illustrated book providing subtitles and updates to the graphics and user interface that make jumping into the story a smoother process.

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