See what it was like to fight on the front lines of WWI.
The first time I experienced Dan Carlin’s War Remains was during the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. The 12-minute WWI VR experience was unforgettable and beyond intense. To bring that sliver of history to life, the team at MWM used an HTC Vive headset along with a life-sized studio set complete with creaking doors, vibrating floors, artificial heat designed to emulate the feel of nearby explosions, and an actual trench that you physically walked through. Together these location-based elements transported you to the front lines of WWI, complete with all the anxiety and stress of a real-life battlefield.
To this day MWM’s powerful historical experience remains one of the most powerful VR projects I’ve ever experienced. And soon you too will be able to immerse yourself in the “immersive memory” from home when Dan Carlin’s War Remains launches on Oculus Rift, Steam, and Viveport May 21st, just in time for Memorial Day weekend.
Though the home version doesn’t include any of the location-based haptics present during its showing at Tribeca, the visual and audio featured in the VR experience itself are more than enough to properly immerse you in this captivating trip through time. Like the Tribeca Film Festival version, “Hardcore History” podcaster Dan Carlin, narrates each moment of the experience.
The home version of this visceral, educational experience allows audiences to witness an important slice of history, placing users on the front line of one of the bloodiest battlefields the world has ever seen. The short-form VR experience features new audio and visuals so people can experience it from their homes around the world.
To bring an additional sense of realism to the experience, there are times when Carlin’s voice becomes buried underneath the sounds of tanks rumbling over-head or your bunker forcefully shaking from a nearby explosion. You also hear the voices of soldiers shouting out through the chaos of war, whether it be in anger while fighting the enemy or in agony from being shot.
At one point you’re in an underground radio room located somewhere within a complex network of trenches. The only thing separating you from the insanity of war is a dirt-encrusted wooden door. The only illumination comes from a flickering light dangling percariously from the ceiling. As it sways back and forth, the walls of the bunker come to life with violent shadows, instilling a genuine sense of claustraphobia in the process.
In an official press release, Ethan Stearns, MWMi EVP of Content said, “There was an incredible demand to see the physical installation of ‘War Remains,’ but we also continued to hear from fans online, wishing there was an easier way to experience this project. We are proud that Dan Carlin’s VR experience will now be available for people with VR headsets at home around the world.” Stearns adds, “At MWMi, we’re focused on bringing visually stunning, story-driven experiences to life. Working with Dan Carlin to create an immersive memory from the First World War is an important project that more people need the opportunity to see.”
For Carlin, the goal was to create a time machine that would transport audiences to the front lines of one of the deadliest periods in human history. Despite its short runtime, War Remains does a phenomenal job at recreating the feeling of chaos and anarchy present during the brutal 4-year war.
“It is my hope that people – students, teachers and the general public, can use ‘War Remains’ to gain a greater understanding of one of the most impactful events in world history.”
Image Credit: Flight School Studio / MWM Interactive