2.5-dimensional virtual content that transcends the boundaries of movies, games, and anime –CNET Japan

“” Delivered on NetflixBlack Mirror: BandersnatchWas a new form of entertainment that was both a movie and a game. “Movie-like games” such as FINAL FANTASY have now permeated the general public, but “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” is the opposite, and can be said to be a “game-like movie.”

Even in Japan, novel-oriented bishoujo games called “visual novels” such as Leaf’s “Shizuku” released in 1996 have been very popular since the latter half of the 1990s. The understanding of visual novels overseas is strong in the style of combining a character, a background, and a text box with lines written on it, but in Japan, a specific hero is operated with an image of a type that displays a message on the full screen. Rather than doing it, there are many types in which the player himself adventures. When reading a story centered on dialogue, the story sometimes diverges depending on the player’s choice. You can often feel literary.

On the other hand, “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” was a movie with choices like an adventure game. It is a movie with game elements mixed, and the choices are displayed for about 10 seconds in the middle of the video, and the viewer chooses one of them and chooses the story development by himself. The mechanism by which choices appear in the movie may have provided a new sense of value that the line between the two worlds of the movie and the game has faded, that is, it is game-like and interactive, but it is a movie.

And now, this “game-like movie” or “movie-like game” is being newly expanded by xR technology.

VR visual novel

“Tokyo Chronos”

The original visual novel is like a “novel with pictures and sounds” where you read the story on a screen consisting of a character’s standing picture and text. The VR visual novel that expresses it in VR is now attracting attention. With VR visual novels, you can enjoy the content as your own experience because the character perspective or the player himself goes into the story.

The text is displayed in front of you like the original visual novel, but it also has a more interactive finish because you can move the character and touch it life-size. However, since it is close to a visual novel, the movement of the character itself is modest, and I feel that the emphasis is on reading the text and listening to the character’s voice.

The masterpiece of VR visual novel is “My Dearest”Tokyo Chronos“. In this work, as mentioned above, rather than being fascinated by the smooth movement of the character, I got the impression that I was drawn into the story using text and voice. In addition, popular voice actors and singers are appointed for the voices and theme music of the characters, making them more realistic and exciting. In the scene where I had a conversation with a female character alone, I felt like I was actually next to me, so I was really thrilled.

“Tokyo Chronos”

It’s hard to tell in the screenshots, but when you actually play Tokyo Kronos, it feels like a wonderful extension of the so-called Japanese-style visual novel to the world of VR. It is a genre of mystery, and its situations and atmosphere are well-crafted, and explanations of the feelings of the main character and the characters appearing and the situations that change rapidly are displayed in subtitles in my field of vision. As you move on to the next text with the controller, the situation and lines change, and the scenes and music change accordingly. In the middle of the story, choices are sometimes given, and the story diverges as a result of those choices. Also, if you clear the story once and play it again, it may develop differently from the first time, so you will be drawn into the world of Tokyo Kronos more and more.

“Tokyo Chronos”

In this work, the opening is inserted as a production at the beginning, but there is a production that expands the dimension to the VR space on the way from the original two-dimensional visual novel-like production of PCs and smartphones. When I experienced this production, I felt the message that people have entered an era of natural connection to virtual space due to the expansion of visual novels from 2D to 3D. Regarding this, you will not be impressed unless you actually experience it in VR, so please experience it once.

2D and 3D

MyDearest released after Tokyo Kronos, “ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos“. Whereas Tokyo Kronos was a mystery-based youth ensemble drama set in modern Shibuya, ALTDEUS is a robot anime science fiction set in 2280. People are forced to evacuate to the basement of the earth by the foreign creature “Meteora” that attacked the earth, and the main characters are actionable VR visuals that fight against Meteora on a giant robot as military personnel belonging to the military organization “Prometheos” It’s a novel.

「ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos」

「ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos」

Tokyo Chronos is like an extension of a two-dimensional visual novel to VR, and it does not have many character motions like other VR story games. Basically, it does not incorporate motion, and text and scenes are divided into cuts. I felt like I was drawn into the story. Therefore, although it is natural as a visual novel, it is undeniable that it is a passive experience.

On the other hand, although ALTDEUS is basically in the form of a visual novel, it incorporates more mini-games, detailed conversations, and story branches, so even people who are not good at passive experiences can immerse themselves in stories and games. It became easier to do. In the battle scene of this work, the operation is performed in a scene like being in the robot cockpit, so it is a more realistic production.

「ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos」

「ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos」

From such a “three-dimensional effect” and the corresponding “more interactive game activity”, it feels like you are between 2D and 3D. VR visual novel is close to a three-dimensional experience because the player himself advances the game in a 360-degree virtual world from the perspective of the character in the story, but reading the text, character design, cut splitting, etc. UX is close to a two-dimensional feeling.

Perhaps the voice actors, performers, and scene production that infuse the character with voice may be similar to 2D content production while considering 3D UX, but for the user who actually plays it, it will be a 3D experience. It may be. When creating a scene, considering the player’s viewpoint guidance, I think that it is necessary to create UX with a sphere instead of a plane, but since the cut split and text are close to the UI like a two-dimensional visual novel, In that sense, it can be said to be “2.5-dimensional content.”

Experience, not read the story

“One morning, when I woke up, I was transformed into an insect.”

This shocking sentence is the beginning of Franz Kafka’s novel “The Metamorphosis (Die Verwandlung)”. The VR installation “VR Wandlung” with the motif of “transformation” by Kafka was announced in 2016. It was also exhibited in Japan in 2018. The work, which was produced mainly by Czech artistic director Mika Johnson, is about getting into the novel “Transformation” and transforming into a giant insect. The experiencer experiences the story as a transformed body from the same perspective as the novel’s main character, Zamza. In the VR space, Zamza’s room is created according to the description of the novel, and outside that, Zamza’s family and boss are making noise to enter the room. Through this work, Kafka was able to experience the theme of “alienation” that he dealt with in his novel.

This will be a concrete example of extending the novel to VR. It completely overturned the conventional wisdom of “reading literature” and provided a new sense of value of “experiencing literature.” Of course, reading will help you develop your imagination, and the impressions will differ depending on the life experience of the reader, which is one of the real pleasures of reading literature, but by experiencing literature, you can enjoy and pursue new literature. I think we can do it.

A VR adventure game produced by the Swedish game studio “Cortopia Studio”Down the Rabbit Hale(Down the Rabbit Hall) “. This is a VR game based on “Alice in Wonderland”. The story is about finding a missing pet while helping a girl who has lost her way into “Wonderland” from both the first-person and third-person perspectives of the main character. The feature is that while solving the puzzle by looking into the diorama, sometimes switching from the main character’s point of view to read the conversation and follow the story. Basically, Alice is moved in the miniature world using the left stick, so that point is an interaction like a two-dimensional RPG, but when you talk to the character in a specific scene, it automatically switches to the first person. At this time, it is a three-dimensional experience, and many Japanese will feel that it is close to a visual novel in a sense.

Successfully convert the dimensions of movies, games, and anime

Looking at the excitement of the VR industry, the market will expand further in the future. Along with that, the creation of interactive stories through VR, as introduced in this article, is expected to expand. With that evolution, I feel that the line between movies, games, and anime will gradually fade in the future. Not only that, but because works that are a mixture of 2D and 3D are created, it is possible that completely new values ​​and concepts will be born. Through choice, the viewer himself can interfere with the story and the world. And since it becomes possible to interfere with the character, it is commonplace to enter the story and look into the outside from the inside, instead of looking at the story from the outside as it is now. Imagine coming, I can’t control my excitement.

Hiromasa Saito

Representative of Estify Consultants OÜ

He quit his tennis coach and entered TalTech University of Technology in Estonia. Started a business with local guidance and consulting while attending school. He has won many awards at hackathons in Estonia and has been on the stage. The research themes at the graduate school are numerical analysis of literature and research and development of small artificial satellites. Currently, a freelance creator team (nurumayulabs.com) is engaged in development work such as DX consulting, apps, IoT, and data science, while creating VR learning apps and virtual x art.

Twitter @T_I_SHOW_global

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