It was recently announced that PlayStation is working in cooperation with creator Vince Gilligan and Sony Pictures to bring Breaking Bad to life in VR. Shawn Layden, president of Sony Interactive Entertainment, detailed the project in an interview with Polygon. According to Layden, neither Sony Pictures nor Vince Gilligan know exactly what the VR experience will entail.
“They’re very keen at looking at virtual reality as the new medium. It’s not an extension. It’s not an upgrade of a current medium. It’s a brand new platform, and movie directors and film directors are going to have to learn new disciplines in order to tell their story in that kind of a world where the viewer’s got free agency on where they go, where they look, what they see,” Layden explained.
While Layden was unable to go into further detail, he did explain how the core idea stemmed from a PlayStation event held in San Mateo Last year.
“We brought in 10 or a dozen show runners from Hollywood. You know, all the big name guys; Ron Moore from Galactica and Frank Darabont from The Walking Dead. We had Vince Gilligan come up, you know, the guy who did Breaking Bad,” Layden began.
“To each individual, when they took the headset off, they each shouted an expletive and followed that with, ‘Wow, this just blows up narrative. How do we create in this kind of world where I can’t point the camera and make you look where I want you to look or see what I want you to see?’ But then, of course, you’ve got their creative juices flowing if you will.”
The concept of utilizing VR in conjunction with film and television is yet another way in which the medium is expanding outside the realm of video games. Last year, we briefly detailed how the band Disturbed worked alongside the company Littlstar to bring one of their most popular music videos to life in VR.
The end result showcased how virtual reality can be used to enhance the way we experience media.
However, the response each director gave during the aforementioned PlayStation event presents an interesting quandary; how do you direct in VR format? Not only would the director need to take into account the user’s control of viewpoint, but also their participation.
Should users be restricted to a “fly on the wall” perspective in VR where they’re free to explore a scene from all angles without direct interaction, or should they be allowed the chance to become part of the story?
There’s no denying that virtual reality technology can help expand the art of storytelling in all forms of media including television, film, and music. It’ll be interesting to see how Sony Pictures and Vince Gilligan work with virtual reality to present a new take on a series as acclaimed as Breaking Bad. How will other industry professionals approach this concept? As of right now, the possibilities truly are endless.
To learn more about the Breaking Bad VR project, be sure to check out the original article over at Polygon.