Imaginary vacations were a fixture of pop culture long before the virtual reality boom. Ian Cleary, a VP for Relevent — which helped develop both the travel pod and the Game of Thrones Oculus Rift experience — says this project was inspired partly by Total Recall. “Your brain is just a collection of signals that it gets from your sensory organs. Whether those inputs are real or fake, at the end of the day it kind of doesn’t matter. If we can replicate them faithfully enough through these mechanisms, your brain believes that you went to these places and did these things.”
What’s going on in immersive storytelling is analogous to the truly independent American cinema of the 70s (or any of the other ‘New Waves’) where there was a lot of freedom and excitement to try new things. Art in general should always be searching for the new and undefined—immersive storytelling is providing that spark right now.