The second of three Blade Runner 2049 VR games is now available free for the Oculus Rift.
If you haven’t seen the new Blade Runner film yet, I suggest you drop what you’re doing and head to a theater immediately. The sequel to the 1982 cult-classic seems to improve on almost every aspect of the original with an engrossing story and some truly stunning visuals.
Funny enough that’s exactly what the consensus seems to be regarding the second Blade Runner VR game, Blade Runner 2049: Memory Lab, available today for the Oculus Rift and Gear VR. A follow-up to the first VR Blade Runner-tied experience, Replicant Pursuit, Memory Lab picks up right where we left off with our replicant protagonist soaring through dangerous weather in a deadly chase above futuristic Los Angeles.
Developed by LA-based studio Magnopus, Replicant Pursuit takes place at the tail-end of your intense dogfight, following which you then report to Wallace Corporation’s Memory Lab for an analysis rundown of the deadly incident. It seems you may have killed a human being in the process, a big no-no for a Blade Runner. With the help of a holographic AI you’ll reconstruct and interact with the incident to uncover exactly what happened and deal with the situation. At any cost…
It’s during these moments of the interrogation that we’re introduced to some extremely impressive visual technology. Memory Lab utilizes photogrammetry to instantly stitch together live images of real-life actors into the 3D experience. This is done by placing performers in a motion-capture studio and recording their movements from every possible angle using multiple cameras. This volumetric data is then imported into a 3D rendering program and projected into the virtual reality experience giving the illusion of an actual human being in 3D.
This technology is used primarily on the holographic A.I character who will guide you throughout the game. As she talks and walks around you you’re able to inspect her, lean around and pretty view the impressive render from any angle you choose.
It’s a truly impressive use of the rapidly-growing capture method, but hardly the first time we’ve seen it used in virtual reality. Greenland Melting, a VR documentary covering the ongoing melting of Arctic ice, used similar means to project 3D human scientists into real-world locations in VR. Blackout, an informative experience that premiered at the Tribeca Virtual Arcade, also used volumetric technology to render real people into VR in real-time.
So if you’re a fan of the Blade Runner universe or just appreciate some really cool visual-trickery you’ll definitely want to check out Blade Runner 2049: Memory Lab. The title is available for FREE today on the Oculus Rift and Gear VR.
These VR tie-ins to the historic cinematic universe have only been getting better with each release. It’ll be exciting to see what we get out of the third and final installment.