The Virtual Reality Company, based in Los Angeles, announced that they are released a new animated VR series, “Raising a Ruckus” later this year. Spearheaded by VRC’s chief creative officer, Robert Stromberg, the 12-episode series will be about two siblings and their dog Ruckus who go on magical adventures together. It’s going to be released in theaters and headsets, with branch narratives (i.e. you can experience one episode from the brother’s POV and from the sister’s POV in another).
Robert Stromberg is confident that this project will succeed, despite VR’s slow establishment as a medium for marketable narrative form content. He was the art director for “Avatar” and is approaching this project with the same boldness and innovation he did in James Cameron’s masterpiece. So far, VRC has raised more than $25 million for the project, so it looks promising.
I’m honestly not sold on this project just yet. As much as I want to be on board with it (Stromberg’s work is brilliant, I want VR to be established as a storytelling medium), I can’t help but to acknowledge the logistical difficulty in making VR narrative consumption easy. As of now. Headsets are expensive (except Cardboard, but that’s compromising quality and comfort, which are distracting from the viewing experience), animation isn’t appealing to everyone, and that’s where a lot of VR’s magic comes from (until 360 filmmaking is advanced to a more impressive level of execution). I am excited about the creative decision to have branching narratives, and the mere ambition to break into the entertainment industry with VR. I’m all for it. But every time I watch 360 film, even if it’s visually stunning and narratively brilliant, I still get kind of bored of turning my head around and trying to take in as much as I can. It gets exhausting. Having the confines of a 2D screen, curated with directorial intentionality, is far easier to watch for extended periods of time. Sometimes that limit is needed to be freed up as a viewer to experience the story unfolding on the screen, instead of focusing our attention on seeing everything we can, simply because we have the ability to do so.
Other cool stuff on VR
$25,000 VR racing rig (it looks awesome).