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Brief Published: 10 Oct 2014

Virtual Reality Access to the Batcave

Extra
Screenshot of Otoy's VR experience

Comic producer DC Entertainment and US visual effects studio Otoy are building what they describe as an interactive narrative experience for personal 3D viewer headsets, including Facebook's Oculus Rift and Korean brand Samsung's Galaxy Gear VR.

Due to be released this winter, Otoy is working on giving users the ability to explore Batman's lair. The superhero is one of DC Entertainment's flagship brand properties, spawning comic strips and books, live action and animated TV series, numerous feature films, and tonnes of merchandise across seven decades.

The project recreates the Batcave as seen in Batman: The Animated Series, rather than the more recent live-action trilogy, The Dark Knight. The series, which ran from 1992-95, was appreciated by fans for its faithful portrayal of characters from the Batman universe. It also received four Emmy Awards and wide acclaim for its artwork.

With frame composition and lighting inspired by film noir, the animated show borrows art deco style elements painted in light colours on black backgrounds (as opposed to white, which is the conventional approach). These artistic choices – dubbed "Dark Deco" by the show's producers – result in flat and clearly stylised environments.

Translating this design into virtual reality (VR) creates an immersive space with an artistic brief unconcerned with being bound to ultra-realism, and further explores the technology as an artistic medium. This is a diversion from recent applications, which excelled in recreating realistic environments. Examples include international visual effects company Framestore's Ascend the Wall experience for US television network HBO.

We cover Ascend the Wall and more narrative uses of VR headsets in our Storytelling 2020 report, part of our Post-Digital Macro Trend. Meanwhile, Immersive Brand Spaces examines the devices alongside other methods of enhancing branded experiences.

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