I’m a skeptic when it comes to all the new-fangled technology these days - especially hyper-hyped stuff like the Oculus Rift. I lived through a couple of iterations of VR madness, and from a distance the Oculus Rift looked like more of the same.
Then I tried it. Now I’m a convert.
Legendary Pictures is using the Oculus Rift to create an incredible immersive Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot experience for Comic-Con attendees, and it’s kind of mind-blowing. When you strap on the goggles and headphones you find yourself strapped into a Jaeger about to go into battle with a kaiju (Knifehead in the demo), a pilot at your side. You go into the drift, a totally trippy moment in this virtual reality context and then the fight begins. To be fair you’re not actually doing anything - you’re just sort of watching - but the immersion is so complete you don’t even mind.
The Oculus Rift transports you inside the Jaeger cockpit using actual ILM assets. When I visited the set of Pacific Rim I got to check out the cockpit set, and I have to say that this is indistinguishable when it comes to details - except for the fact that where the set ended, the VR version is complete. You can look down and see your legs walking, you can look behind you and see the hatch and you can look to the side and watch your partner get eaten by Knifehead.
I don’t know what, if any, larger plan Legendary has for Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot, but if they made this into a playable game I’d be addicted. In just a few minutes I totally GOT the Oculus Rift, and I realized this will absolutely, completely change the way we experience games. And it seems like maybe it could change the way we experience the world of movies like Pacific Rim.