Seek the help of a powerful witch to save your mothers life in this “choose-your-own-adventure” animated short.
This is turning into quite the week for Star Wars fans! Following yesterday’s announcement regarding a new VR space combat game set in a galaxy far, far away, Emmy award-winning interactive animation studio Baobab Studios (Invasion!, Crow: The Legend, Bonfire) today revealed that Star Wars alum Daisy Ridley will play a lead role in the studios’ upcoming VR animated short, Baba Yaga.
Set in a dark and mysterious fairy-tale world filled with powerful magic and ancient mysteries, Baba Yaga is a story of “love, fortitude, and magic.” Stepping into the role of the main protagonist, audience members will explore a variety of haunting environments in search of the Baba Yaga, a powerful and perplexing witch capable of curing your sickly mother, thereby saving her from an untimely death.
Thankfully, they won’t be embarking on this dangerous journey alone. Audience members will seek the help of the mysterious Baba Yaga alongside their 10-year-old sister Magda, voiced by Rey Skywalker—err Daisy Ridley.
“Baobab is at the very forefront of VR and interactive animation, so it’s been exciting to work with Eric and the team to bring such a beautiful story to life,” said Ridley in an official statement. “I love playing Magda, because she is brave, vulnerable and fiercely protective of her family all at the same time. The idea that the viewer will be able to genuinely interact with my character in this magical world and help steer the course of the narrative is so amazing.”
“It’s easy to get caught up in the spectacle of a ‘Star Wars’ film and not to think about the talent of the actors,” director Eric Darnell told Variety. “It’s even more remarkable when you know that she is standing in front of a greenscreen in a sound studio. For us, to have the opportunity to work with her was huge. Certainly, she is a big name, but for me, it’s always great when you work with wonderful actors.”
“Often actors earlier in their careers can be quite insecure. Daisy, on the other hand, is centered and confident, and is a collaborator.”
According to the studio, Baba Yaga will introduce a new level of immersion and viewer interaction never before seen in a Baobab production. Whereas previous animations featured little to no interactivity, Baba Yaga will allow audiences to shape the story as it progresses in a “choose-your-own-adventure” style format where each choice impacts the final ending.
“Eric explained it to me this way years ago,” explained producer and Baobab CEO Maureen Fan. “You see a little girl alone crying on a park bench and she’s clearly too young to be alone. If it’s in a film you feel bad for her, but you aren’t going to get out of your seat to try and help her, you know it’s not real. In a game you talk to her, but because you have a goal and you’re motivated by what you want to accomplish. In real life though, you would talk to her because you genuinely care about her, are worried about her and want to help her.”
“With ‘Invasion,’ our first piece, there were no hand controllers and all you could do was look around. It took from then to now for us to learn and for the technology to be there to really interact with the other characters.”
Baba Yaga is set to premiere on multiple formats sometime later this year. More information will be provided June 23rd during a live Q&A hosted by the Annecy festival featuring several members of the Baobab team, including Director and Baobab Studios Co-Founder and CCO, Eric Darnell; Co-director, Mathias Chelebourg; Development Producer Shannon Ryan; and Animation Supervisor, Ken Fountain.
Image Credit: Baobab Studios