Founder Eugene Chung discusses the evolution of storytelling, the future of VR, AR and more.

Eugene Chung:

"Penrose Studios Founder"

September 1, 2017

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. 

Chung founded Penrose Studios in 2015. Arden's Wake, which exists a prologue for much longer version, is the studio’s third release. Their debut, The Rose and I, which was loosely based on classic French children’s story The Little Prince, premiered in 2016 at the Sundance Film Festival to much acclaim. The studio followed last year with Allumette, a highly imaginative animated experience based on the Hans Christian Andersen story Little Match Girl, chronicling the life of a young girl in a fantastical cloud city. 

"I always wondered will I ever live to see the next transformation. And I never thought that I would."

"It is also our belief that stories are going to be the thing that pushes the medium in to the mainstream."

And while both these works deservedly resonated with the VR community, Arden's Wake feels like a monumental step forward. A fully realized version could potentially be VR’s first breakout hit.

We were thrilled to meet Eugene Chung in the hills of San Francisco at Penrose studios. In our Wevr Transport interview with him, we discuss the constant evolution of storytelling, the pivotal moment in creative technology we are experiencing, and his informed thoughts on the future of VR and AR.

Images (from top to bottom, left to right): Allumette, The Rose and I, Allumette, Arden's Wake, The Rose and I, Arden's Wake, Arden's Wake, Storyboard for Allumette, Arden's Wake, Inside Penrose Studios, Inside Penrose Studios.

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