Skybound Entertainment is bringing its new virtual reality (VR) horror series “Delusion: Lies Within” to Samsung VR. Starting on November 2, owners of compatible headsets will be able to buy the 4-part series via the Samsung VR app for $4.99.
“Delusion: Lies Within” is the brainchild of Jon Braver, who has been holding annual horror plays under the “Delusion” brand in Los Angeles for some time. Part, immersive theater, part haunted house, “Delusion” has been a hit with Angelenos for years — but Braver had long been looking for ways to push the franchise further.
“These plays are only for 6-8 weeks,” he told Variety during a recent interview. By branching out, Braver hoped to give his stories longevity beyond the season of scares. Horiginally approached Skybound about turning “Delusion” into comic books — but the folks at Skybound ultimately were able to convince him that VR might be a natural fit. “Theater really seemed to lend itself well to that space,” said Skybound vice president of emerging platforms Rachel Skidmore.
Set in the American South of the 1940s, “Delusion: Lies Within” follows two literary fans in their quest to find and ultimately save their favorite author. The VR series is split up in four episodes, with each running for about 8 minutes. The series was produced with help from Santa Monica, Calif.-based VR production company Witty Acronym.
“I think it’s a really beautiful piece,” said Skidmore. “It almost tricks you and makes you think you are looking at a painting.”
Braver said that he was considering to add interactivity to the story, but ultimately opted against it. “The play is an interactive play,” he said. “In the VR scenes, you are a ghost in the manor. You are on the journey with them.”
This isn’t the first time for Skybound to partner with Samsung on narrative VR. Three years ago, the two companies teamed up for “Gone,” one of the very first serialized stories to be released on Samsung’s then-nascent Gear VR headset.
Nearing the end of 2018, the VR landscape has evolved, thanks in part to newer headsets like Facebook’s Oculus Go. However, there have also been setbacks, with many in the industry expecting that consumers would buy more headsets than they ultimately did. That hasn’t stopped Skybound from producing content for the medium, Skidmore said. “I still believe in it. I still think there is amazing potential for narrative features.”
For VR to succeed, it doesn’t just need good headsets, but also good content, argued Braver, adding that he had watched too many 360 videos that made him cringe. “We can’t be having that stuff out there,” he quipped.
As for “Delusion,” the VR series will just be a first step, said Braver. He’s committed to work with Skybound on features, comics, and maybe even a television series. “Skybound is family for me now,” he said.
Plus, there are already plans for a second season of “Delusion: Lies Within,” said Skidmore. “We are ready, script in hand, to keep going.”