If there was one simulation this year that offers a clear glimpse into a future where virtual reality becomes a dominant storytelling, it is Arden's Wake by Penrose Studios. An animated story of a young woman living in a post-apocalyptic world where water levels have risen, the experience merges a delightful playfulness with something far more profound and poignant. It is a tonal duality that mirrors many of the really successful animated features like Inside Out, The Lego Movie, Up and others. Watching Arden’s Wake, one can easily imagine a time when kids and parents will excitedly line up to experience VR stories.
None of this is any coincidence. Arden’s Wake is the work of acclaimed San Francisco based Penrose Studios, a VR studio founded by Eugene Chung. Besides once serving as head of film & media at Oculus Story Studio, Chung worked for a stint at Pixar Animation, the creators of Toy Story, Wall-E, Up, Inside Out and more.