‘Paranormal Activity’ to Live on as Virtual Reality Game

The scare won’t be over when the sixth and final “Paranormal Activity” movie hits theaters this fall: Come May 2016, horror fans will be able to gain a whole new perspective on the horror series with a video game that will give them the illusion of being amongst the haunted, thanks to virtual reality (VR) technology.

The still-unnamed virtual reality video game is being developed by Beast Media Group, which licensed the rights for the franchise from Paramount Studios. The game won’t be based on any of the existing six movies; instead a whole new storyline, to play out in virtual reality, will be developed for it, said Beast Media’s co-managing partner Alex Barder during a recent interview. “VR is the next chapter of the franchise,” he said.

The company plans to debut the “Paranormal Activity” game on all major VR platforms, including Oculus, Vive and Morpheus. It will also develop a non-VR version for more traditional gamers, and eventually aims to bring a more lightweight experience to mobile VR platforms like Gear VR as well. “We try to be as agnostic as possible,” said Beast Media’s Russell Naftal.

And as scary as possible, one might add. That even includes the sound design: Beast Media has been getting some help from the sound designers at Universal Sound to craft soundscapes that both help players navigate the VR space and make the look in the right direction, but also throw them off if necessary. “We definitely will be guiding the gamer with carefully placed sounds,” said sound supervisor Kelly Oxford. “We want to draw the player into a false sense of safety and then hit them hard with big sounds and visuals.”

Naftal and Barder founded Beast Media earlier this year as a multiplatform company, with VR being a key piece of the puzzle. The duo said that a project like the “Paranormal Activity” VR game seemed like a great project to tackle early on, in part because monetization isn’t an issue with video gamers. “There is an existing install base who is used to paying for content,” Barder said.

Beast Media is planning a number of additional VR projects, and plans to unveil a live-action VR experience in October. Right now, the company is working hard on getting a first preview of the “Paranormal Activity” game ready in time for Gamescon in Cologne, Germany, early next month.

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