‘Ghost in the Shell’ Virtual Reality Experience Makes You the Ghost in the Shell
[The videos in this article contain some nudity are may not be safe to view in the workplace.]
It doesn't seem possible that consumer-friendly virtual reality is on the verge of breaking through the shackles of science fiction and into the real world, but we're entering into a brave new world of immersive interactivity with the release of Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear and even Google Cardboard. While each of those VR platforms has its own strengths and weaknesses, that there are multiple manufacturers vying for your attention in the same space (with more like PlayStation VR, SteamVR and StarVR still to come) speaks volumes about how viable virtual reality has become in the last few years.
Aside from the potential gaming aspects, virtual reality presents some interesting opportunities for narrative immersion as well. We've already seen Star Wars take advantage of that a bit with its recent Jakku tour, but the landscape is wide open for the likes of movies and animation to give fans and viewers an even closer look at the worlds being created on screen. Such is the case with the upcoming Ghost in the Shell VR short, Ghost in the Shell Virtual Reality Diver. Set in the world of Ghost in the Shell: Arise, the short will be an on-rails experience that lets you tag along with Major Kusanagi through some select scenes curated for VR.
The original video debuted at Tokyo Game Show earlier this year, but you can now watch an interactive trailer for the full project on YouTube now (via Kotaku). If you have a 3D monitor, the trailer will work best that way, but you can also enjoy it with some traditional anaglyph 3D glasses if you have them lying around (which I always do for some reason). To give the impression of your head moving around to view the world as if you were in VR glasses, you can move the image around just by clicking your mouse on the video player. The video will guide your view if you leave it be, but taking a peak around lets you see some details that otherwise might have been ignored.
In addition to seeing some combat and hacking in action, there are also some more metaphysical moments that have been a hallmark of the GitS series since it began. There's a lot of ground covered in just three minutes, and even though it's not 100% interactive, it's still an impressive venture for a short designed for smartphones. We've come a long way since The Lawnmower Man.
You can also check out the standard format teaser below (though it's much shorter). Ghost in the Shell Virtual Reality Diver is expected to hit mobile VR devices sometime in 2016.