Baobab Studios, creators of high quality animated virtual reality shorts like Crow: The Legend are debuting their latest VR short Bonfire at the Tribeca Film Festival. Bonfire is a science fiction survival adventure that puts you at the center of the story — and lets you experience bonding around a campfire a million miles from home.
“Bonfire”, directed by Eric Darnell who helmed both Madagascar and Antz, is the story of an explorer (you) who crash lands on a distant planet that could be humanity’s new home. Thankfully you are not alone. Debbie, a trusty robot sidekick, voiced by comedian Ali Wong is there to help you and chat while roasting marshmallows.
Of course, there are strange creatures on the planet who may wish you harm. How you interact with those creatures is up to you and you must learn about the planet to decide whether to tell earth about it at all.
In an interview with Variety, Darnell denies that the film is strictly a choose your own adventure story. He says that,“Rather than branching the story, it’s branching emotions.”
This sentiment has become common among writer and developers of interactive fiction of late and I suspect we are living through a period of tension between readers who crave impacting a story towards what they perceive is a multitude of outcomes, and writers who are becoming more enamored with how technology can be used to create a rich experience in subtler ways.
Ultimately, I think IF teams are always going to try and balance interactivity and deep storytelling and that’s always going to be a challenge.
After Bonfire premieres as part of the Tribeca’s Virtual Arcade Friday, it will release on a variety of Oculus VR headsets later this year.
Check out the trailer