VR Experience of ‘Wolves in the Walls’ to Premiere at next year’s Sundance Film Festival

  • 6 December 2017
  • Jermaine Wright

A VR Experience of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean’s eponymous children’s book Wolves in the Walls will premiere at next year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Like the original children’s book, the VR “Wolves in the Walls VR” is an episodic experience that allows participants to play a character who can interact with Lucy, an imaginative child that hears wolves crawling in the walls of the family’s home.version follows the story of Lucy but in this adaptation, the viewer becomes an active participant, an imaginary friend that comes to life after being drawn by Lucy.

Former members of the now-defunct Oculus Story Studio are developing the experience.

Interestingly, the project almost never got off the ground as it was believed to be canceled.

‘Wolves in the Walls VR' was one of the last projects that the Oculus Story Studio team was working on before the Facebook acquisition shut down its award-winning in-house VR storytelling unit in May.

But the Story Studio team was determined to complete the Gaiman adaptation. Most of the team members stayed together and quietly continued to work on the project, even securing the blessing and additional funding from Oculus.

The VR experience of Wolves in the Walls is described as a “ VR fable about the nature of fear” which evokes the illustrations of a children’s book in a three-dimensional and interactive way, similar to what is seen in the illustration itself.

The first installment, which runs roughly 10 minutes, will see participants helping Lucy search for evidence of wolves. Participants will then have to help her overcome her fear of the wolves and save her family in the two subsequent episodes.

Illustrator Dave McKean provided dark and busy collages for the book version. For the VR experience, the developers teamed up with New York-based immersive theater company Third Rail Projects to develop the story’s choreography and star attraction Lucy.

The team also worked with a number of game developers to add interactivity to the story creating a new level of interactivity that goes far beyond Story Studio’s Emmy Award-winning short film “Henry.” Their input allowed the main character to be an interactive figure, responding to players’ movements and decisions and even passing objects back and forth.

But VR allowed for some experiences, such as the sense of physical presence that most games don’t have.

Wolves in the Walls VR was directed by Pete Billington, who hails from DreamWorks Animation, and produced by Jessica Shamash, previously with Pixar.

About Jermaine Wright