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VR: The Monkey King


I spoke to Wayne Kennedy, the Director of Creative Development at Digital Domain at San Diego Comic Con 2017

Tony Tellado:  What’s going on with the digital domain in particular with Virtual Reality ?

Wayne Kennedy: Digital Domain as you know is a special effects company 25 years in the business works in some of the biggest movies that have been out there. But we’re a lot more than that with tech company and also creative content company we’ve been pushing really hard to create some of our own original pieces and VR is one medium that really attracts us , like so many of us as we’ve been working hard to do some stuff inside house and now we’re very happy to say that our first consumer product is coming out next week and that is the Monkey King.

Tony Tellado: What so what kind of experience is the Monkey King for the user ?

Wayne Kennedy:  Well this one is unique because it is a passive adventure. We purposely decided not to do an interactive piece for our first piece of content because we wanted to focus on storytelling and narrative and how do you do that in the environment which is obviously very tricky. But we took to that challenge and it was very exciting to do especially for this particular town.

Tony Tellado:  What will the user experience in the Monkey King is it the  actual legend or your own variation ?

Wayne Kennedy:  That’s a really good question. Yes it is based on some on the Monkey King. And I anybody who knows the 16th century mythology knows that it’s based on something called Journey To The West. . And this story story’s actually happens before that this is when the Monkey King is born and how he becomes the Monkey King. And even though there’s many versions of the Monkey King that been made especially in China, when they make a new movie not too many people have touched on this part of the story. So that way we were able to keep true to some of the mythology but have some originality or so and because this is serialized and this is episode. What does it say in the future to tell more stories eventually get into the Journey To The West.

Tony Tellado:  What other things are you planning a digital coming up besides the Monkey King ?

Wayne Kennedy: We are very happy with interactive pieces but still keeping true to the narrative storytelling which we want to do. And then of course we’re going to be making more Monkey King episodes in the coming future too. So there’s a lot of things that we do. We’ve done a lot of commercials and music videos in 360 and but now we’re venturing into our own content and we think and hope that people will really enjoy what we’re putting out there.

Tony Tellado:  I don’t want to put you on the spot but it just seems to me that Avatar might lend itself to something like this.

Wayne Kennedy:  I think there’s space to all of these things and I think the opportunities to create wonderful stories is just going to be phenomenal in the future.

Tony Tellado: But speaking of something else I’d love to see is maybe something on the Abyss.

Wayne Kennedy: That is James Cameron who was the co-founder. I’ve never thought of those IPs. I mean I think feel be wonderful whenever you got experience and you know fortunately for us we’re a company that we’re situated in what we can do, even animated cartoon stories  like the Monkey King. But we can also do photorealism which has been proven for many years. So we’ve got a wide bandwidth of ways of showing content and also putting a strong story behind that.

Tony Tellado:  So how what kind of development time and production time goes into making one of these adventures ?

Wayne Kennedy: That was a really good question. It varies quite a bit because as all of that goes into the creation of something like this plus deciding what type of property we wish to develop in the and this one from beginning to end probably was about a 10-11 month cycle to do this but that was a lot of hard work from a good team. Because it’s an animation and this and it’s a real-time experience which means this is viewed on the game engine. We think that because we’re going to be on various platforms it gives us some more flexibility to do real-time experience.

Tony Tellado:  Were there any actors doing mocap or anything like that ?

Wayne Kennedy:  No this is all key frame animation. I wouldn’t do any mocap with this even though we do have a mocap studio capabilities which we may use in other products but for this we want to do key frame So it’s a little bit more traditional animation.

Tony Tellado:  It just seems like to me the future of VR is pretty wide open right now.

Wayne Kennedy:  Oh definitely. I think so many people interested from the developer’s standpoint to the consumer. And I think once we have a very nice balance of you know good hardware at a price point that’s reasonable and it becomes more available to people in the home. I think you’re going to see some extraordinary pieces created in the future.

Special Thanks to Forty Seven Communications


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About Sci-Fi Talk (873 Articles)
Tony Tellado, Host and producer of Sci-Fi Talk, a podcast and multi-media blog on sci-fi,fantasy and horror in various mediums. copyright 2010 Si-Fi-Talk LLC

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