×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Lionsgate Teams Up With Wevr for ‘John Wick’ Virtual Reality Experience

John Wick is back: The hitman from the 2014 Lionsgate thriller by the same name isn’t just gearing up for his second movie, in which he will once again be played by Keanu Reeves. He’s also at the center of a new virtual reality (VR) experience that HTC is currently showing off as part of its global roadshow for the HTC Vive VR headset.

Lionsgate teamed up with Venice, Calif.-based VR startup Wevr to produce the “John Wick” VR experience, which lets users become Wick, and explore the Continental Hotel on his behalf. In the movie, the hotel is a safe haven for assassins, a kind of base camp that they can use to rest their bones and prepare for their next missions without the fear of work-related injuries. In the VR experience, it’s also a place of mystery, in which users have to figure out how to bribe the concierge, pick up dubious clues, and finally dodge bullets as someone breaks the Continental’s code of conduct and attacks their hotel room.

SEE MORE: ‘John Wick’ Sequel: Keanu Reeves, Directors and Writer Set to Return

The fully animated VR experience makes use of the Vive’s motion tracking technology, allowing users to freely move around within a 10-by-10 feet space — which is enough to actually walk into that mysterious elevator or check out the hotel suite. Oh, and you’ll also have to get on your knees to escape the bullets once the attack starts. The experience also incorporates the Vive’s two handheld controllers, adding the ability to touch things, and for example move the lever in the hotel’s virtual elevator to get it to go up and down.

Lionsgate is getting ready to launch a full-blown VR video game based on the “John Wick” franchise next year, and it also recently started to film a sequel to the movie. That’s why the timing couldn’t have been better when HTC approached the studio about content to show off the capabilities of its Vive headset. “You’re not always going to be part of a global roadshow,” said Peter Levin, Lionsgate’s president of interactive ventures and games.

He added that “John Wick” was in many ways the perfect property to adapt to VR. “It’s a very immersive environment,” Levin said. “It just immediately sucks you into a very discreet world.” Wevr was hired by Lionsgate to produce the experience which is shown off as part of the roadshow, while the game itself will be developed by VR game studio Grab, and distributed by Starbreeze.

SEE MORE: Virtual Reality Startup WEVR Gets $10 Million from HTC

Wevr co-founders Anthony Batt and Neville Spiteri recently told me that producing experiences like these is all part of the company’s quest to explore the space between narrative and interactive entertainment for virtual reality. As part of that process, Wevr is currently developing a platform for cinematic VR experiences that goes beyond just bringing 360-degree video to VR headsets. Instead, Wevr’s platform will allow creatives to use what Batt and Spiteri called “story triggers” — objects that viewers look at or touch to unlock parts of a story. “In VR, the agency is all given to the audience,” said Batt.

Thus far, startups like Wevr and studios like Lionsgate still operate based on assumptions about what their audience is going to want. None of the more advanced VR headsets is available for consumers yet, and we don’t even know yet for how much they are going to sell for. Facebook-owned Oculus is going to ship its Rift headset some time in early 2016, and the HTC Vive headset will become available at around the same time. Right now, demos and roadshows like the one put on by HTC are the only way for enthusiasts to get a first glimpse at the technology and its promises.

But even with that little exposure to average consumers, Levin is optimistic. “Everyone leaves extremely impressed” after trying virtual reality, he said, adding: “I’m very excited about how immersive these experiences are thus far.” Levin acknowledged that Hollywood had some false starts with next-generation home entertainment technologies in the past, but he seemed convinced that VR may finally be the one to stick around. “This one feels very real,” he said.

More Digital

  • Facebook's Oculus Quest Shows How AR

    What the Oculus Quest Can Teach Us About the Future of Mixed Reality

    Facebook’s new Oculus Quest headset is a great gaming device that simplifies virtual reality (VR), doing away with the need for an expensive PC and external tracking hardware. But with its integrated tracking, the Quest can also teach us a thing or two about the future of virtual and augmented reality. Those two areas of [...]

  • snapchat-logo

    Snapchat Takes Down Porn Lenses, May Start Cat-and-Mouse Game

    Snapchat quickly removed a handful of x-rated augmented reality lenses Tuesday, dealing a blow to efforts by adult entertainment company Naughty America to promote its subscriptions to the service’s users. However, the porn studio may not be quite done with Snapchat just yet, as it is still distributing the source files that allow Snapchat users [...]

  • YouTube logo

    Why YouTube Is Changing the Way It Reports Subscriber Counts

    Within the next three months, YouTube will change the way it publicly displays channel subscriber counts: It will provide only rounded figures instead of actual follower numbers. For example, under the change, T-Series — the Indian music-video channel that recently surpassed PewDiePie to become the most-subscribed channel on the platform — would be listed in [...]

  • Phillip Eubanks and Marc Hemeon Join

    Phillip Eubanks and Marc Hemeon Join Troy Carter’s Q&A

    Q&A, the music and tech company founded by former Lady Gaga manager and Spotify exec Troy Carter, today announced the appointments of Phillip Eubanks as Chief Operating Officer (pictured above, right) and Marc Hemeon as Head of Design (left). The pair join Carter, J. Erving (Human Re Sources, Atom Factory), Suzy Ryoo (Atom Factory, OMD) [...]

  • Simran Sethi Quits Netflix India Role

    Simran Sethi Quits Netflix India Role

    Simran Sethi, the Los Angeles-based director of Netflix international originals, responsible for India content, has resigned and will quit after a transition period. Netflix did not comment. Sources familiar with the matter told Variety that Netflix prefers an executive based in India to oversee local original content that has now grown to 11 series and [...]

  • The Secret Life of Pets 2

    ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “The Secret Life of Pets 2.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $11.52 million through Sunday for 869 national ad airings [...]

  • Cory-Haik-Vice

    Vice Media Hires Cory Haik, Former Mic Publisher, as Chief Digital Officer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Vice Media has recruited Cory Haik, former publisher of digital news start-up Mic, as chief digital officer to lead the youth-culture company’s global internet businesses. Haik will be based at Vice’s Brooklyn headquarters and report to CEO Nancy Dubuc. She most recently worked at Mic, which last fall laid off virtually its entire staff before [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content