The Under Presents merges VR and immersive theater. The game has several unique innovations including the use of live actors to inhabit NPCs while the players and actors are remote in Quest/Rift headsets. Our cast of 18 helps flesh out the lore of the world and performs everyday (2 an hour) from 8am-10pm PST. This run of live actors began in November and may conclude in April. Beyond that, there is a full-multiplayer game and 6-8 hours of a single-player experience.
The Under tells the story of two intersecting worlds. In this unique and unpredictable experience, players converge in the otherworldly hub of “The Under,” where ever-changing stage shows are presided over by an enigmatic MC. The main show is The Aickman, a long-form narrative where players explore the mystery of an ill-fated research ship and follow characters as their supplies dwindle and they disappear one-by-one. Players can manipulate time to unlock narrative scenes and potentially work with past ghosts of themselves to solve puzzles that alter the fates of the Aickman’s crew.
There is a lot of interest in exploring the overlap of immersive theater and VR. We wanted to leverage some of our backgrounds in theater to create an experience that could make players question whether they were engaging with a recorded NPC or live performer. In addition to the narrative unfolding on the ship with our ten central characters, the Under has taken on an expanded role and a life of its own. In addition to roving live actors, the amount and time of the stage acts has really expanded significantly since working with Piehole, Brooklyn based theatre group. Piehole found some great real, live performance artists in NY that we have worked closely with to create fanciful digital representations of their acts.