clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Who the Hell Are You? That's the Big Question in VR Storytelling. (Video)

"We can't control where you're looking," and have to resort to tricks to tell a story, content creators say.

Oculus Story Studio / "Henry"

Okay, so let’s pretend it’s 2016 and you’ve decided to pony up for a virtual reality headset. You’re watching a movie or playing a video game, and then — one of the characters looks right at you.

Epic Games thinks that’s a big jump from today’s media, where it’s easier to remind yourself that you are not really a character in the story. In a new mini-documentary video, the company quizzes VR content creators on how that different sense of identity changes their work:

“We can’t control where you’re looking,” said Jeff Brown, the director of photography at Oculus Story Studio. “The viewer is now the camera, and we have to use other tricks to bring things to your attention.”

The video doesn’t offer much in the way of concrete answers besides highlighting a few demos that do interesting things, specifically drawing from content made in Epic’s game engine, Unreal (natch). For instance, in an animated film made by Oculus called “Henry,” the titular character looks directly at the camera as he is getting ready to celebrate his birthday. Also, he is a cartoon hedgehog with no friends who lives alone, which makes it especially weird that viewers are just hanging out.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.