Content of the article: "The Under Presents: Tempest is a new genre and form of media – and has big implications for the future"
If you're not aware of what this is, it's a live VR immersive theater experience inside The Under Presents game; you can think of it as a microtransaction theater ticket that you buy at the in-game theater to attend and become part of a recreation of the Shakespear play Tempest.
It involves a professional actor with their own full body avatar roleplaying their character and giving you (among up to 7 other players) stage direction where you, just like real life, have to perform the role of a character in a play and improvise on the spot with only your body language and magical powers – because all players are muted, but this doesn't just take place on a simple stage – it's a full narrative story that goes from place to place with all kinds of scripted setpieces and effects going off .
At one point, the actor I was with transformed into a giant spirit while I was cowering as part of my role, and others were throwing food from a feast at them. It was a really crazy way of storytelling, to actually see this majestic being embodied by an actor. As the experience went on, I became Ferdinand, had a sword fight against another player roleplaying as a sorceress, and got married to Miranda after exchanging onions instead of rings.
It was a wild ride, and unlike most real world immersive theater, every player was given a central role and was really expected to do a lot – with good guidance on the actor's part. The implications here are definitely big, as it shows that you can have a fully human-driven experience for NPCs without the use of AI, enabling a truly infinitely branching story where everything is different to a second run of the same experience.
I can definitely imagine a future where we can enter virtual worlds and become the main character of what's almost like a playable movie, forming personal bonds with these actors right from your living room. Feeling down one day? Literally just become the protagonist of a movie where your fellow actors will treat you like one.
Here's a video showcasing the experience:
There's also another one that is similiar but has multiple actors at once and lets you talk:
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