|TL/DR:||Too early to tell. Lacking in content. Gimicky but not without potential.|
Every week, starting this summer, Will Smith and the FOO crew will chat with interesting people from the world of games, virtual reality, film, television, and more in an interactive, 3D-rendered, virtual reality talk show. This week’s episode features Firewatch. You can explore the tower!
The FOO Show is just our first program. In the next year, we’ll introduce many new shows. If this sounds interesting to you, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upon loading I am presented with a mostly black screen featuring a large title „NEW EPISODES“ and a huge poster for „Firewatch – Episode 0“. Since this is supposed to be a weekly show running since summer I try to navigate to something more interesting to me. Nothing happens. Oh well, I guess Firewatch it is then.
I select the poster and am transported to a virtual location resembling a talk show stage and instructed to look up. Upon doing so a primitive control bar appears and I select play. The episode starts with some mutual congratulations on meeting in a virtual stage represented by avatars with some really unhealthy looking legs. Before too long however we advance to the first question: „What is Firewatch“. One of the guests picks up the question and begins to „Uhhh“ and „Uhmm“. I don’t know, but if you can’t answer that question by heart you might be the wrong person for this episode.
At this point I skip forward and am teleported to a different set, which I learn is one of the watchtowers from „Firewatch“. In the usual Oculus style there are several teleportation spots on the floor that allow you to view the discussion and the scene from different viewpoints. I ignore the discussion and look around. It’s nice to be on the set of this game but not owning the game myself I have a hard time deciding if this is an accurate depiction of the game or a low detail rendering. All I know is that the view from the tower looks awkwardly like theather scenery. (Later research on the subject indicates to me that this seems to match the actual game at least for this scene)
I skip ahead some more and am back on the talk show stage. Not interesting to me. I fast forward some more and quickly arrive back at the beginning of the episode. So you’ve got a 20 minute episode and it takes 3 or 4 fast forwards to get to the whole thing?
Being able to visit virtual locations relating to the discussion at hand is a neat concept. I could see this becoming an interesting avenue to showcase upcoming VR titles akin to a demo of The Olden Days. But like so many other content delivery apps on VR right now it is only going to be as good as their library and this one is sorely lacking. Also there are several usability improvements advisable: more fine grained time controls, an exit button and a way to control the episode without looking away from it.
Right now it can, at most, serve as a demo for the Rift but not a very good one.