Art and Experience: If there was one thing missing from Ridley Scott’s “The Martian,” it was the true, visceral experience of being right there on the red planet as Matt Damon’s Mark Watney struggled to make his way home to Earth. Thanks to the magic of virtual reality, that’s no longer a concern. Now you too can can trapped on a distant planet with little — if any! — hope of returning to only other world you’ve ever known.
Fox has today announced the creation of “The Martian: VR Experience,” a new interactive experience that allows its viewers to participate “from astronaut Mark Watney’s perspective, performing tasks that will facilitate his chances for survival. Viewers can fly onto the surface of Mars, steer at zero gravity through space, drive a rover navigating over craters and experience key scenes from the hit film in a 360-degree virtual reality environment.” Executive produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Robert Stromberg, the new experience is currently available on PS VR and HTC Vive.
“The Martian: VR Experience” comes from the Fox Innovation Lab, which has been developed by the studio as a “research and development center established to drive the advancement of groundbreaking technology and new consumer experiences across all platforms and distribution models.” The title was produced and published by Fox and VRC and developed by The Third Floor Inc.
It joins a growing contingent of feature films utilizing virtual reality technology to advance storytelling. Recently, the “John Wick” franchise got the first-person shooter treatment, thanks to a new video game that using VR to put players into the cinematic assassin’s shoes, while fans of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” can use the new Google VR headset as a very high-tech “wand.”