Take on the role of the ‘The Spirit of the Seasons’ in this animated retelling of a Native American origin legend.
Celebrated VR animation studio Baobab, the team behind Emmy-award-winning VR shorts Invasion! and Asteroids!, is back with yet another jaw-dropping immersive animation featuring an impressive line-up of voice talent, including John Legend, Tye Sheridan, Constance Wu, and more.
Available now on the Oculus Rift and Oculus Go, Crow: The Legend, is a light-hearted VR adventure based on the famous Native American origin legend of the crow that blends storytelling, music, and light player interaction to create an emotional journey that takes users to the cosmos and back.
Users take on the role of “Spirit of the Seasons,” an invisible embodiment of the seasons; using their hands to instantly change the weather from the pleasant coolness of fall, to the unforgiving cold of winter.
“With a simple wave of your hands you can make the flowers grow, snows fall, and the winds blow,” says Eric Darnell, Baobab’s Chief Creative Officer and Director of Crow: The Legend, in an official statement. “You can even play the ‘music of the universe’ in much the same way a conductor conducts an orchestra. Not only does this feel powerful, intuitive, and effortless, but it also helps the viewer focus on what really matters.”
Throughout the story, players follow Crow (John Legend), Skunk (Constance Wu), (Tye Sheridan), Diego Luna (Moth), Oprah Winfrey (The One Who Creates Everything By Thinking), and Owl (Liza Koshy), a group of well-meaning forest animals who enjoy nothing more than listening to the silky-smooth vocal stylings of Crow. As winter dawns upon the forest however, the animals struggle to manage the bitter cold and must device a plan to survive the unforgiving conditions. They decide their best option is the seek the help of “The One Who Creates Everything By Thinking,” a mystical being located far beyond the sun that’s responsible for creating the universe and everything in it.
It’s a story about self-discovery, sacrifice, friendship, and responsibility. Viewers journey beyond the comfort of Earth through a beautifully animated solar system, complete with talking celestial objects and plenty of eye-opening spectacles.
“Crow: The Legend brings storytelling and music together in a way no one else has yet in virtual reality. It’s an incredible medium for inspiring a journey of self-discovery and finding your way in times to darkness,” explains John Legend. “In light of what’s going on in today’s world, it’s a message of deep meaning that people from all walks of life can embrace.”
In order to bring the project to life, Baobab partnered with Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) and its CEO, Sarah Eagle Heart, who also voices the role of Luna, the talking Moon in the animated short. “We share this wisdom through storytelling, with tales passed down through many generations over thousands of years,” said Eagle Heart. “We are emotionally, physically, and spiritually connected to these stories that teach us right from wrong, and provide a framework for how to live fulsome, compassionate, and engaged lives.”
“During this process, Baobab and I discovered a scarcity of Native creators within the VR industry,” Eagle continues. “This wasn’t due to lack of interest but rather an absence of opportunities.”
NAP, alongside Baobab, Vision Maker Media, and Longhouse Media, has since launched the #GenIndigenous fellowship to assist Native American youth by offering them pathways into the VR industry.
Crow: The Legend now available for free on the Oculus Rift and Oculus Go. There’s also a standard 2D version available on YouTube, but trust me, this is a journey you’ll definitely want to experience in VR.
Image Credit: Baobab Studios