The prestigious Tribeca Film Festival (April 24-May 5) has revealed the selections for its explorative and intersectional Immersive program, and among the year’s offerings is a new title which takes users straight to the battle lines World War I’s Western Front.
From Dan Carlin (creator of the popular Hardcore History podcast) and MWM Immersive (Chained: A Victorian Nightmare, Gnomes & Goblins), War Remains is a multi-sensory experience blending virtual reality with a detailed physical set of real-world elements and effects that can be felt, touched and experienced — including special haptics, floor rumblers and wind effects.
“Madison Wells asked me what I wanted to do, and I jokingly said ‘make a time machine.’ We have failed at our first attempt at doing that. There might have been insurance problems with that anyway. However War Remains, our immersive attempt at a time machine-like dive into a Western Front battlefield turns out to be the most realistic simulation to date of a nightmarish human experience from more than a century ago,” said Carlin.
“I’ve always said that places like the Western Front at their worst were inconceivable to those who hadn’t seen it first hand, but one of the valuable parts of this experience is it uses the latest technology and techniques to make it easier to imagine. In that sense, I hope it’s an empathy-enhancement tool. It takes things one step farther than film or television or video games have been able to do. I think it engages the senses and ‘lizard brain’ of someone experiencing it in a way that that truly bridges the gap between something that is spectator-oriented to something that is participatory. It commands one hundred percent of the audience’s attention. It refuses to be ignored.”
In War Remains, viewers enter a detailed physical set overlaid with a virtual environment that lets them literally reach out and touch the hellish landscape. As educational as it is exhilarating, the piece blends Dan Carlin’s classic narrative style with moments of unfettered combat to bring viewers closer to history than ever before. Even after exiting the immersive simulation and returning to the present day, audiences are left with the realization that, more than 100 years later, this war has yet to release its grip on the world. “War Remains,” presented by Dan Carlin, is directed by Brandon Oldenburg and produced by MWM Immersive with development by Flight School Studio and audio design by Skywalker Sound. MWM Immersive is the division of MWM that creates and distributes VR and AR experiences made by the world’s best storytellers.