Oculus has released the teaser for its second short film, Henry, and from the looks of it the moniker “The Pixar of VR” seems to be an apt fit.
The film, directed by Ramino Lopez Dau, who previously had done animation for films such as Brave and Monster’s University and it is clear the wonderfully whimsical style that has made Pixar the monolith that it is has carried over.
The film, set to premiere on July 28th in Hollywood, centers around a hedgehog named Henry who loves to hug… to the dismay of all of his friends – who are too scared to show up for his birthday party. Alone at his party, Henry makes a wish for friends, “and we’ll find out what happens,” teases Edward Saatchi – Henry‘s producer.
Films already have the power to create emotional connections but virtual reality takes that empathetic reaction to a whole new level. “Henry is really the first character in virtual reality,” says Saatchi, “we’ve noticed that he is starting to feel more like a friend.” Which is interesting because the film appears to be aimed at young children (“We wanted to make.. something that would make kids laugh”) who currently are not even allowed to wear a Rift – yet. At Recode, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe said “one day, we definitely want to have Oculus for kids,” but also noted that would only be after more confidence had been built on the health and safety side of things. It remains to be seen how quickly that age limit is lifted, if it ever is.
Speaking with Oculus PR about the age issue with Henry, “Oculus stands by its age recommendation for VR and Henry fits within that age recommendation the humor and joy of it is similar to a kids film, like Pixar stuff.” Concluding that the film is “not marketed at kids.”
Given the date of the film’s release – it seems likely that it will be shown on the Oculus Rift consumer edition, which is set to be revealed at a press event on June 11th, although Oculus PR could not confirm this at this time.
UploadVR will be at Henry’s release in Hollywood, CA – stay tuned for more.