With Dispatch, Here Be Dragons pushes narrative VR storytelling in bold new directions


by Jonathan Shieber

As virtual reality takes its trip through the hype cycle of technology adoption, I keep returning to the early days of film as a corollary for the medium’s progress and a good benchmark for its evolution.

When they first arrived on the scene, movies must have had the same thrilling and disorienting visual jolt that anyone who experiences virtual reality now receives the moment they strap on a headset.

And just as film developed from the first flickering frames of a horse’s gallop from The Horse In Motion, created by Eadweard Muybridge in 1878, so too will virtual reality evolve to encompass more ambitious storytelling.

Dispatch, a gorgeous, harrowing 24-minute experiment in narrative storytelling created by the acclaimed studio Here Be Dragons, which uses virtual reality in novel ways, may be one of the most interesting steps on the path to creating VR’s own narrative language.

The short, which debuted at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year, is now available through the Oculus store on both the Rift and the Gear. The first three episodes are available now and the fourth and final installment will be released at a later date.

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DispatchGabrielle Brown