×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Elijah Wood on Why He’s Making a Video Game

Transference” looks like a movie wrapped inside a video game, but Elijah Wood, who’s helping to create the title with Ubisoft, tells Variety that’s not the case.

“It’s a game, it’s definitely a game,” he said in a private upstairs room at LA’s Orpheum Theatre following Ubisoft’s E3 press conference last week. “This isn’t just a VR experience, it was conceived as a VR game.”

Wood took to the Ubisoft stage to introduce “Transference,” a game being developed by a small team inside Ubisoft Montreal in collaboration with his film production company SpectreVision. The game mixes live-action with computer-generated creations to deliver a paranoid puzzler that takes place inside a simulation created by one of the game’s main characters.

The concept for the game came about just as Wood and his company were investigating ways to make use of virtual reality for storytelling, he said. SpectreVision primarily creates horror films and VR seemed like the sort of medium that could help them make immersive, uneasy, terrifying experiences, Wood said. A mutual friend, who formerly worked at Ubisoft, put the two companies in touch with one another and things took off from there.

Wood and crew traveled to Montreal to meet with some of the Ubisoft developers and have a brain-storming session. “Out of that came this sense of, ‘there is something here,'” Wood said. “Then we chipped away at a nugget of an idea.”

Popular on Variety

Wood described the resulting game as a sort of mystery that thrusts the players into a world where they are trying to piece together the mystery of what happened to a family. In the game, the simulation is the by-product of the collective brain data of Raymond, his wife Catherine and their son Benjamin. Somehow, members of the family are now trapped in the simulation. The game is due out this fall, and while it was conceived as a VR game, it’s also going to be available on non-VR platforms. Currently, the game is expected on PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

The hope is that this won’t be the last game SpectreVision creates.

“We’d love to create more games,” Wood said. “We’re all gamers. We all grew up playing video games. The opportunity to work with Ubisoft was something we couldn’t pass up. It was super exciting.”

While Wood is deeply involved with the game’s creation, he won’t be acting in the title. Instead, he said, he’s the creative director.

“We’re all pretty equally involved,” he said. “We all wear multiple hats. I wanted to be a part of the creation of it. It was more fun to get Macon Blair (Green Room) to play the lead character in the game.”

The process of creating a game rather than a movie did involve evolving some new techniques, he added. They don’t have edits and the team doesn’t have the ability to control the camera. Instead of telling where a viewer needs to go or look, they needed to develop other approaches. “We have to string people along and create a sense of wanting to move forward and then instilling that movement with a sense of discovery.”

While gaming seems likely in SpectreVision’s future, it won’t be supplanting the production company’s movie work any time soon. Instead, Wood said that this game is a reflection of just how much Wood and his team love gaming and the emerging tech behind VR.

“It’s not looking at this as a beacon, as this is the future of entertainment,” Wood said. “It’s just fun to play in the sandbox of VR. Also, wanting to express ideas that push things forward in the context of a video game.”

More Gaming

  • Green Day Beat Saber music pack

    Beat Saber Gets Green Day Music Pack, 360-Degree Levels

    Coinciding with Green Day’s performance at the Game Awards, Facebook announced late Thursday that the popular virtual reality game Beat Saber is getting a Green Day music pack. The 6-song pack is slated to go live at midnight, and players will simultaneously get access to Beat Saber’s long-awaited 360-degree gameplay. The Green Day music pack [...]

  • Ghost of Tsushima Trailer

    'Ghost of Tsushima' New Trailer Drops at The Game Awards

    A new full trailer for developer Sucker Punch’s “Ghost of Tsushima” is finally here. The latest substantial footage of the samurai game dropped at The Game Awards Thursday night, marking the first real look at the PS4 exclusive since Sony released a short teaser during its State of Play earlier this week. “Ghost of Tsushima” [...]

  • Ultimate Rivals The Rink - Apple

    Apple Arcade Launches NHL Game That Lets You Put Athletes From Other Sports on the Ice

    Now you can see NBA superstar LeBron James facing off against NHL great Wayne Gretzky in a fast-paced hockey game. In an innovative fantasy mashup for sports gaming fans, Apple Arcade is launching “Ultimate Rivals: The Rink,” a hockey game that lets you pit NHL players against athletes from other sports. The game is available [...]

  • Xbox Series X: Next-Gen Console Revealed

    Microsoft Reveals Next-Gen Console, Xbox Series X, at The Game Awards

    The next-generation Xbox console is officially called the Xbox Series X, and will be released over next year’s holiday season, Microsoft revealed during Thursday night’s The Game Awards. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer took the stage at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater to make the big reveal about the project previously known as Project Scarlett, and [...]

  • The Game Awards

    How to Watch the 2019 Game Awards

    The Game Awards will be taking place on Thursday night and, fittingly, there are plenty of ways to stream the event online. The whole show will be streaming live starting at 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET from Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater on The Game Awards’ YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch pages. Additionally, for the first [...]

  • Riot Games

    Riot Games to Pay $10 Million to Settle Gender-Discrimination Lawsuit

    Riot Games, developer of “League of Legends,” will fork over at least $10 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of women employees alleging the company’s “bro culture” resulted in systemic gender discrimination. Terms of the settlement in the case, reached in August, were revealed in court documents filed last week in California [...]

  • Dreamscape_Dragon vr

    Dreamscape Gets ‘DreamWorks Dragons Flight Academy’ VR Experience (EXCLUSIVE)

    Location-based virtual reality (VR) startup Dreamscape has teamed up with DreamWorks Animation to launch a new “How to Train Your Dragons” experience at its flagship Westfield Century City VR center in Los Angeles later this month. The 11-minute “DreamWorks Dragons Flight Academy” experience allows up to 8 participants to hone their dragon-flying skills together, and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content