Pixar’s VR Debut Takes You Into The Stunning World of ‘Coco’

Explore new worlds with friends in this jaw dropping Pixar VR experience.

Disney Pixar’s first ever VR experience, Coco VR, isn’t just a game or VR experience with a story unfolding around you as the observer. Instead this visually stunning masterpiece of an adventure is one you can take with friends—an idea that Pixar sees as the next stage in “social virtual reality”.

Coco VR is part of Disney Pixar’s promotion machine for their newest film, Coco, a film that takes place in Mexico on the annual holiday Di de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. The film follows the musical ambitions of a young boy named Miguel, who stumbles across a portal that transports him to the Land of the Dead, where he meets the souls of his ancestors, and explores his love for music. According to a Disney Pixar representative, “It’s a film about family and remembering our ancestors.”

But for the social experience that is Coco VR, you can actually be a part of the film’s story. You join Miguel as a skeletar (skeletal spirit avatar), where you can explore almost every part of this beautifully constructed virtual underworld, and do things such as stroll through the center of town where you can watch a concert with other skeletars, or take the train to other buildings. You are also able to try on different clothing, take selfies, and even participate in a show where you’re encouraged to yell as loud as you can.

If you think watching your friends playing a VR game is weird and fun, try watching someone in VR yelling at the top of their lungs.

Exploring the world of Coco VR is easy; just teleport yourself throughout the virtual world by using the your hand controllers. You can move your head in all directions to take in the magnificent cityscape that surrounds you, or you can shift your view in either direction to explore every nook and cranny of Coco, uncovering cool little things such as a museum of movie concept art, or a movie theater showing early Pixar test footage of Coco.

In an interview with VRScout, Flip Phillips, who was Pixar’s First Animation Scientist and currently a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Skidmore College, he said that when he was at Pixar, “VR made it’s first debut but at that time it was mainly in the domain of flight simulators and it was terribly slow…but there were people at Pixar who had fantastic ideas about VR.”

As for Pixar today, Phillips, who is credited as a consultant on Disney Pixar’s 2015 film Inside Out, said, “I am no way surprised that Pixar got into VR,” adding, “they’re not going to slap something together just for the sake of it being VR.”

One of the most spectacular parts of Coco VR is when you climb aboard the train that takes you across town. Hands down, it’s just stunning to stand on the train and look out the window at the passing buildings, with beautiful animation taking place above and below you, it’s clear that Pixar is indeed taking VR experiences seriously.

Coco VR simply lets you just live in the moment in this virtual world of the dead. There are no goals, and you’re not being timed. You are just encouraged to do what you want, go where you want, or just hang out. Basically, you’re living in the world of Coco, which happens to be a Pixar film.

Though Coco VR is a fun experience on its own, it really shines when your friends can join as well. It’s just like hanging with your buddies in the real world on a Saturday night, where you’re horsing around and having fun. But in this case, horsing around means throwing your own skull back and forth with friends and dancing with other skeletars.

Coco VR for Oculus Rift allows for four players at a time in the experience, while Coco VR for Gear VR allows for two friends.

If Coco VR is any indicator of how amazing Coco will be visually, it’ll be safe to say that Disney Pixar’s newest movie will be absolutely breathtaking.  Coco VR comes from the partnership with Disney Pixar and Magnopus, and is a free app available now for the Oculus Rift; or you can experience it by going to select Disney Stores and movie theaters. Expect Coco VR to arrive on Gear VR on November 22.

Coco stars Benjamin Bratt, Gael Garcia Bernal, and newcomer Anthony Gonzales, who voice the film’s main character, Miguel. The film, which is directed by Toy Story 3’s Lee Unkrich along with Darla K. Anderson and Adrian Molina, arrives in theaters on November 22.

About the Scout

Bobby Carlton

Hello, my name is Bobby Carlton. When I'm not exploring the world of immersive technology, I'm writing rock songs about lost love. I'd also like to mention that I can do 25 push-ups in a row.

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