While it may not yet be mainstream, VR is a growing industry worth over £3.5 billion globally in 2017 and set to be ten times that by 2020. One of the newer aspects of Virtual Reality is VR dramas – narrative content which is more like an immersive film than the interactive games we are used to seeing so far. One of the UK based companies diving into the realm of narrative VR is Breaking Fourth so we headed to their London office to see what all the fuss was about.
VR films are a bit like riding a gentle roller coaster. You are effectively a roaming cameraman within the narrative, able to look around but moving with the flow of the piece. It was an interesting experience and after a few minutes, it becomes so immersive you don’t realise how long you have been watching until after. Breaking Fourth tend towards dark twists, favouring blended works, including elements of sci-fi and fantasy. They are also one of the first companies to release comedy VR series on Playstation VR as well with their new series ‘Bro Bots’.
‘Ctrl’ (which has just been remastered and also released in YouTube 360) is a dark story of a young man’s desperate need to win an online esports tournament. ‘Utopia 6’ is a sci-fi looking at a future civilisation. ‘Opinions’ is a 3D virtual reality music video about social media complete with giant robots and towering skyscrapers and ‘An Iceling Christmas’ is a small winter piece for the holidays.
Lastly I was given a preview of their upcoming release, ‘Lucid’ – this was by far my favourite (with ‘Ctrl’ coming in 2nd place) and follows a woman trying to wake her mother from a coma by entering her psyche and experiencing shared dreams set in the world of her mother’s fantasy books and is the studios most well put together and ambitious piece so far.
In the interview above we show some of their work and discuss the process behind creating dramas in virtual reality. In total, they have 6 VR pieces available for Gear VR, Occulous Rift and PlayStation VR: ‘Opinions’, ‘Bro Bots’, ‘Ctrl’, ‘Utopia 6’, ‘An Iceling Christmas’ and ‘Lucid’.