Is Showcase’s Halcyon the Natural Evolution of Television?March 25, 2017
Picture this: a murder is committed; an iconoclastic genius is found dead in his home. This man has revolutionized the modern world with his innovative approach to virtual reality, and now he’s dead.
With Halcyon, not only do you get to watch the mystery unfold, if you have a Samsung Gear VR, you can jack in to the virtual world and help solve the case by finding clues others may have missed.
Halcyon is a unique project in that it combines 10 short episodes, available for streaming online now at halcyonvr.com, but also adds 5 virtual reality episodes. Since not everyone has access to a Samsung Gear VR, these VR episodes are not mandatory, but they fill in some blanks about how the case is unfolding.
So while it isn’t mandatory to watch them, it’s cool if you do.
I had the opportunity to watch the first few episodes, including two of the VR episodes, and I enjoyed the experience.
The thing that was most engaging about Halcyon is the world it teases: a future where almost everyone lives in VR. They’ve solved four of five senses, allowing you to see, hear, smell, and taste your VR experience…and they’ve announced that touch, the final barrier to full VR integration is coming soon.
It is a word ripe for stories and Showcase is having some success in future dystopian settings with thought-provoking shows like Incorporated, so building on the Halcyon platform would not be a stretch.
Full disclosure I didn’t finish watching the entire series, I watched 4 of the 15 episodes, two on video, and two in VR, the story felt like it was slightly predictable.That may change with time, but the world was more exciting than the story itself.
The VR experience was solid. It was user friendly, but what you could do in the virtual world was was somewhat limited. You were able move around a room and examine clues that were clearly identifiable, interacting with the investigation as it is ongoing.
While the interface was limited, the VR episodes looked phenomenal. Clearly a lot of effort went into building the atmosphere and overall look of those episodes and it pays off as it was an exceedingly immersive experience.
Showcase seems to be the first to have blended VR and Television, but with the way the world is going, and how quickly technology is evolving, how far are we from a Halcyon-like virtual world ourselves?
You can win 1 of 12 Samsung Gear VR, courtesy of Showcase and Halcyon.
The contest details are here, but don’t wait! The contest closes April 3rd.