FILMS

Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien: Covenant’ will get a separate virtual reality experience

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 January, 2017, 6:44pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 January, 2017, 9:15pm

Ridley Scott is, virtually, at it again.

The veteran director — whose The Martian was turned into an elaborate piece of virtual reality by Fox — will see his new movie Alien: Covenant also given the VR treatment.

The studio announced Tuesday that it is creating the science-fiction piece, enlisting visual-effects specialist David Karlak to direct and with Scott serve as executive producer.? The Alien: Covenant experience is being made under the auspices of Fox Innovation Lab, the on-the-lot department devoted to virtual reality.

“The VR Experience for Alien: Covenant is a dread-inducing journey into the depths of the Alien universe,” said the Fox statement announcing the project.

Watch: the first trailer for ‘Alien: Covenant’

“Viewers will discover the true meaning of terror as they navigate through horrifying alien environments and a story where every decision could mean the difference between life and death.”

A studio spokesman confirmed the piece will be available on all tethered platforms: the high-end Oculus Rift, Sony PlayStationVR and HTC Vive. (Those VR-dedicated venues differ from Samsung’s Gear VR and other phone-based varietals.)

Starring Michael Fassbender and Katherine Waterston, Alien Covenant marks the latest film in the “Alien” franchise (and serves as a sequel of sorts to 2012’s Prometheus). A new trailer offers some clues to the May release, in which the Covenant spacecraft comes upon a dangerous world on a mission to a distant part of the galaxy.

“The Martian VR Experience” was a roughly 20-minute piece that blended light first-person interactivity with scenes related to the movie. Directed by Robert Stromberg, it marked both a major foray for studios into standalone VR as well as an attempt to build a business around that content; unlike many studio experiences, which function primarily as a free marketing tool for the movie, “Martian VR” was sold separately after the release. Alien: Covenant also will be available for purchase, the studio said.

With its vast (other)worlds? and dedicated fan bases, Scott’s recent work lends itself to VR. Fox is hoping Alien: Covenant which taps into the “Alien” series’ fervent online following, will play into that digital interest.

Still, VR as a separate vein of content — particularly as a paid business — is a fallow and unproven area. It remains to be seen whether the close connection to a big movie brand becomes a selling point to consumers or creates a feeling of redundancy.