theBlu Season 1 Available for Purchase on Steam!
We are thrilled that our visionary VR series, theBlu, is now available for the Vive on Steam. This Wevr original series gives audiences a rare opportunity to experience the wonder of the ocean through different habitats and come face to face with some of the most awe-inspiring species on the planet. The series was directed by Jake Rowell and designed as beautiful moments in passing or a collection of memories that powerfully tap into the vast potential of VR.
The debut episode theBlu: Whale Encounter, features an undersea close encounter with an 80 foot whale, and is already recognized as one the most iconic room scale VR experiences to date. The simulation was included in the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Additional episodes of the series are theBlu: Reef Migration where audiences witness the magnificence of an undersea migration on the edge of a coral reef, and theBlu: Luminous Abyss which allows one to venture into the deepest region of the ocean to discover the iridescent abyss.
Series director Jake Rowell, an independent director who previously worked on Call of Duty, Final Fantasy, Superman Returns, discusses the project:
“Working with WEVR on theBlu has been a privilege. It has allowed me the opportunity to work in an exciting new medium, which only happens, at best, a few instances in a lifetime. It is a chance to experiment with new ways of storytelling and to connect with the audience on a very personal level. It is my hope that people walk away from theBlu with a sense of scale and presence that many have never felt before: a unique experience while exploring the beauty and wonders the ocean has to offer.
We had incredible talent working on this project. Gee Yeung lead our art team; while Scott Stephan took charge of our design team. Both share a passion for computer graphics and VR. Senior Artists and Engineer, Nghia Lam, Gennady Babichenko and Julian Kantor, worked closely with the leadership team to help sculpt a visual language and style that fit the project. Specific to the Whale Encounter, Ben Vance signed on to lead the engineering efforts and Academy Award winning animation director, Andy Jones, brought our main character to life with his amazing animation talents. Over the past year, this crew combined with many others has helped shape theBlu series into a memorable introduction to the VR medium.”
“It’s like creating a memory and if you can tap into that as a creator, you can leave people with a lasting impression of your product. My initial experience with VR was in the nineties when I first started working in computer graphics industry. Like most digital artists of the time, I thought VR had some amazing potential, but the technology was still in its infancy. 20 years later, I got the opportunity to work with WEVR where I had my first glimpse of the Vive. The ability to move around freely in a room scale VR experience is definitely a game changer. Soon after my introduction to the Vive, Neville and I started talking about what we could do with theBlu with the wish to create something magical.
Looking out into the next year, the focus for this first generation of VR is to create enjoyable and comfortable experiences for the audience – something that can impact people using this new medium in ways that differ from film or games. It is very exciting to see the potential in virtual reality and hope we can help pave the way for audiences in the future.”
Wevr CEO & Co-founder Neville Spiteri, a part of theBlu project from its very inception, offers his thoughts on the series release:
“theBlu series truly reveals the power of VR as a medium. You have a feeling of being transported, a sense of presence and of a personal visceral experience.
Some of the inspiration for the Whale Encounter comes from a personal experience I had in Turks and Caicos where I was swimming and got to look straight in the eye of a humpback whale. There is something very moving about having a close encounter with a wild creature. And in VR you get that same sense of connection and empathy.
In each episode you are the protagonist. It is about you and and your experience with a variety of species in the ocean. At lot of people talk about the whale in that first episode, but The Blu is as much about the viewer, or the “visitor” as we refer to the audience. In the Reef you are in the middle of a giant migration of ocean life. And in the Abyss you are transported to one of the most unreachable places on planet Earth. You are there. This element is a hallmark of this Wevr original series.
It is all the result of a strong collaborative team effort across Academy Award winning film makers, game designers, engineers and storytellers to really capture the transformative experience we envisioned. Not a game, not a movie, a new kind of immersive entertainment, where you are truly in it. Early VR enthusiasts are realizing that what people envisioned VR to be, is what theBlu actually is.
This has been a labor of love. From the first inception of theBlu in 2010 even before VR headsets… we stayed true to our goal of delivering a profoundly immersive experience that is really only now manifest with the today’s VR technology.”