Innerspace VR recruits actor John Rhys-Davies for this Walt Disney Fantasia inspired VR experience.
You are onstage… dancing around you is a spectral figure, ablaze with color, taunting you – tantalizingly close yet skipping just out of reach. You are a king – named “Iskender,” a booming voice tells you – on a quest for immortality.
You are in Firebird: La Péri, a gorgeous virtual reality interactive narrative. The powerful voice of your guide is familiar – it is the acclaimed Welsh actor John Rhys-Davies of Indiana Jones and Lord of the Rings fame. A cutting-edge contemporary homage to its roots in Impressionism, Firebird: La Péri focuses on emotional charge and atmospheric tension.
The original release was titled La Péri: A Prelude (after the classic 1912 one-act ballet from Paul Dukas, composer of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice – central to Disney’s 1920 film Fantasia). Firebird: La Péri is a more fully-realized VR release from Innerspace VR.
First released at the beginning of 2016, the experience is a trailblazing marriage of dazzling visuals, storytelling, and interactivity. It has already earned global recognition: featured at the Shanghai International Film Festival, Brussels Virtual Reality Festival, our VRScout Art Show, and named official selection at GDC – Valve’s booth, it won not only the Golden Headset Award at the Paris Virtual Film Fest but also the Best Interactive Experience at the Kaleidoscope World Tour.
Captured with motion capture technology and ballet dancers in France, Hayoun Kwon’s production team wisely retained and refreshed the original music from 1912. The result is a strangely hypnotic experience: not video game nor cinema.
The first release, La Péri: A Prelude has been a favorite go-to first VR experience to show newcomers – but a slight learning curve existed. Innerspace VR has doubled down on the fable and technique with this polish. The storyline itself has not changed (we are still a conflicted monarch seeking eternal life, transfixed by a sprite) but the UI has been molded further and the visuals spun into more of a delightfully playful spectacle.
With this renewed rendition, we are not only graced with the resounding vocal stylings of John Rhys-Davies, but an updated user interface makes the interactive story even more reciprocal in the fantastical virtual ballet.
With simpler visual cues and directions as well as richer narrative, Firebird: La Péri comes full circle to its birthplace in Impressionism. By removing any doubt as to “what to do” in this ingenious solution to the current virtual reality storytelling issue of agency vs. passivity, the robust theater eliminates any barriers to emotion. We’re not forced to waste time or energy learning how the drama works. We can just feel it.
“…through the presence onstage and the proximity between the movement and the body of the dancer we reveal the performer’s emotion.” – Balthazar Auxietre, Director
Firebird: La Péri is now available in the Steam store for HTC Vive.