The future of virtual reality beyond immersive gaming and 360-degree movie-watching is mysterious to say the least. At this year's Tribeca Film Festival, we're getting a taste of what devices like the Oculus Rift and Samsung's Gear VR could allow all kinds of creatives to do and the types of experiences we could have using this new medium.
The Storyscapes exhibition at the festival showcases a number of VR experiences and installations that all focus on interactive storytelling. We got to try out a few of them, using mostly the Gear VR headset, and in one case the consumer version of the Oculus Rift, and all of them manage to tell very different stories using the same VR medium. Oscar Raby's "The Turning Forest" is on the fanciful side of the spectrum, incorporating a tunnel-like forest installation and colorful animations to take you through an imaginary world. Meanwhile, other projects examine very real and raw parts of our society, like The Guardian's "6x9," which puts you in the position of an inmate in solitary confinement.
All of the Storyscape's projects are experimental, and many will be available for others to download within the next few months. In talking to many of the project collaborators, we noticed that they had something in common: a story to tell and a desire to use VR to turn the story into an experience that was not too passive or gamified. No matter your experience with VR or your favorite types of VR experiences, these projects point to a new area of interactive storytelling that VR could revolutionize in the future. Check out the video above to see everything that we saw.