Apelab is excited to announce that Break a Leg’s first chapter will be available for free exclusively on the Samung Gear VR powered by Oculus on June 29. Tailor-made for the new Gear VR controller, Break a Leg aims at bringing high-quality interactivity and a polished storyline to mobile platforms. The free chapter is a sneak-peek of the full experience coming out early Q3 2017. Break a Leg has been 100% built with apelab’s SpatialStories toolkit allowing content creators to build interactive stories without a line of code.
An unknown species has kidnapped you to unleash the Ultimate Power of the Galaxy. Only an Illusionist from planet Earth is able to unleash its force by going through The Ancient Book of Stellar Tricks written by Houdini’s great great Aunt Maggie herself. Guided by a peculiar creature claiming to be your friend in your misfortune, you will perform everything from close-up tricks to misdirection and levitation. But be careful, they do not like failure…
“I absolutely love stage magic performance and always have. Tricking the mind into believing something is real is what makes VR unique and illusionists have done quite a bit of that. Break a Leg is an homage to those performers of the 19th century. I had studied the link between stage magic and interaction design in the past and Break a Leg was the perfect project to apply this research. I also draw my inspiration from iconic stories of my generation like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Beetlejuice, The NeverEnding Story or even The Monthy Python movies. You’ll also notice some hints as you go along the adventure at pieces like Fantasia and amusement park rides like Disney’s haunted house or the older Pirates of the Caribbean,” explains Emilie Joly, CEO & Author.
Apelab’s founding team believes that in order for VR to thrive we need to build more compelling storyworlds and more importantly figure out new and unique ways of interacting: “We asked ourselves what it really meant to be an illusionist within a virtual environment and what would feel truly magical for someone being the performer on stage,” says Maria Beltran, co-founder of apelab and Head of User Experience. “The challenge was to find efficient interactions that would always surprise the performer so he could forget he’s wearing a headset and holding a controller. There is still a lot to do to achieve that level of immersion, but those kind of projects help us get there”.
Break a Leg benefited from the latest version of apelab’s SpatialStories toolset which allowed the creative and tech teams to iterate together, test new interactions within minutes and react very quickly to the evolving production needs.
Apelab is glad to work with such amazing partners. The Oculus developer teams have done a fantastic job play testing and making sure the piece lives up to its promise. The Swiss Media group SRG-SSR RTS co-produced the title with apelab and Oculus. It’s the swiss media group’s first dive into original VR content funding. In addition apelab is thrilled to count AMD as a partner, who are supporting the production with their leading hardware and software to power VR.
“Collaborating with top creators like Apelab Studios is highly important to us as a company. This VR experience was built on Radeon Pro graphics and showcases AMD hardware at its best. Break a Leg exemplifies what I feel is so important to the future of VR; an innovative story line that incorporates an unexpected element (in this case 19th century magic shows), while maintaining high-quality graphics. From the adventurous narrative to the visual quality, Break a Leg is an excellent piece of VR and we’re extremely proud to be a part of it” – Roy Taylor, Corp. VP, Product Marketing, Content, Alliances, VR.
Break a Leg premiered at the Future of Storytelling and won an honorable mention at GDC 2017. To get an exclusive sneak-peek of the upcoming Oculus Rift version of Break a Leg, you can check out The Art of VR on June 23rd at Sotheby in New York.
In 2012, the founders of apelab teamed up as Interaction Design Graduates and researchers at the preeminent Geneva University of Art & Design. They have since established themselves as proven creators and thought leaders in interactive storytelling native to VR/AR, always challenging the medium with innovations and new content. Apelab’s award-winning content slate has been built from scratch using the XR SpatialStories platform. These pieces include Sundance New Frontier series Sequenced, AR piece Mnemonic built with the Google Tango group and the upcoming Break a Leg in partnership with AMD and Oculus. Apelab’s vision is to help democratize high-quality content creation by offering both tools that can be used right now and those of the future through their upcoming SpatialStories Studio. An in VR/AR creation tool for designers, scriptwriters and directors. Crafting what SpatialComputing design practices will look like through natural user interfaces, AI and machine learning. With always the same goal in mind: create high-quality content. To achieve that goal, apelab is currently hosted at the Dart17 digital lab in the Swissnex San Francisco building at the Pier 17 where the team is setup to advance their work. They have also recently announced a partnership with Technicolor.
Los Angeles / Geneva, June 23rd 2017