Tonight is the preview night for San Diego Comic-Con, and Legendary Pictures has just set the tone by announcing a new virtual reality partnership with Google — and they're debuting a look at Duncan Jones' upcoming Warcraft movie along with it. Dubbed Legendary VR, the initiative consists of an app — available right now for Android and iOS — and a version of the new Google Cardboard, with Legendary set to distribute 50,000 units of the DIY VR kits over the course of the week.
The app currently houses three different experiences: Warcraft: The Skies of Azeroth, Beware Crimson Peak, and the company's Pacific Rim-themed Jaeger Pilot. In the first experience, players sit atop a massive Gryphon as it soars across Azeroth, revealing the landscape featured in the film. Beware Crimson Peak is a more frightening, atmospheric experience, putting the viewer inside the titular house from Guillermo del Toro's upcoming film. Jaeger Pilot is the same VR experience we tried last year, but rather than being tied to the Oculus Rift, it is now able to run on any smartphone that can run Legendary's app.
Director Duncan Jones
"I talk about it like it's a real place; for me it is."
Speaking to journalists at Legendary's Comic-Con booth, director Duncan Jones said that the experience was a collaboration between himself and the company's VR team. "I was obviously focused mainly on the film, but we discussed what kind of experience we could give the audience through VR," Jones said. "With this world building that we're doing in the movie, is there something we can do that can give you that sense of world building in VR? ...So we have this Gryphon flight over Stormwind. And anyone that does know Stormwind — I talk about it like it's a real place; for me it is — will be able to recognize things. And those who don't, it's just a cool, fantasy experience."
Calling virtual reality "our gift to fans," Legendary VP of theatrical strategy Barnaby Legg said that the medium was a perfect way for the company to give audiences new ways into its big-budget properties, the same way it does with graphic novels or other tie-ins. "VR is a very nascent medium, and I think all of us in the entertainment business are dipping our toe in and kind of seeing where it goes," he said. "Our view at the moment is that we feel we're in the experience business, and as we learned last year VR is an amazing way of expanding the universe of our films and really immerse our audiences."
Of course, this is just the beginning of the Warcraft Comic-Con push. Jones is scheduled for Legendary's panel on Saturday, and while he wouldn't confirm what will be shown, with the movie coming out next June it would be the perfect time to show off a new teaser. We'll be there.