Coco VR

Developer: Magnopus, Walt Disney Studios

Publisher: Disney Online

Release Date: 11/15/2017

Platform: Oculus Rift, Gear VR

Viewing System: Oculus Rift + Oculus Controllers

Type: CG interactive world

Coco VR is an interactive CG 3d world based on Pixar’s latest film, Coco. Coco VR was released a week before Coco as a sort of preview, or teaser. It takes you into the land of the dead inside Coco, a brightly lit, festive world filled with happy skeletons. First, you get introduced to Miguel and he tells you about their ofrenda, where they put photographs of their dead ancestors so that they can pass over to the land of the living. Next, we cross over into the land of the dead, and arrive in a clothing store, where we can look around and dress up a skeleton model on the table. Although it wasn’t clear at first, the skeleton model is actually our avatar, and I later realized this when I looked downwards and saw myself wearing the same orange dress I had put on the skeleton model. After dressing ourselves, we can go out and explore the virtual world.

The technology that Coco VR uses is mostly in the form of 360 CG videos and teleportation. There are select discrete locations that you can teleport to. You cannot walk in the virtual world, and can only teleport to specific locations that light up when you point your controller at them. One thing that I found useful was that Coco VR does give you instructions on how to use the controllers to teleport, as well as how to grab clothing and dress your avatar in the clothing store. Although the instructions take away from the immersion slightly, it was very useful to know what to do and how to move around.

Overall, it was a very comfortable experience. It was an open world exploration, and I could teleport to any valid location nearby and explore inside nearby buildings. It was fairly immersive as well, since I could see in all directions around me. I couldn’t see my hands, but I could see my feet and the dress I was wearing. I enjoyed the colorful scenery and the soothing music of the world of the dead. There wasn’t too much story involved, since it’s mostly an open world experience, but I do think it’s a nice peek into the world of Coco (although I do wish they included the bridge of leaves between the world of the living and the world of the dead), and it certainly serves its purpose as a promotion for the film.

I guess the only thing that I would change is adding more content. The world is fairly small and I quickly finished exploring all the rooms and locations that are accessible. Still, since this is a teaser for the animated film Coco, it makes sense that the authors don’t want to reveal too much about the world since that would spoil the movie. The teleportation scheme also seems unrealistic (and thus is not as immersive as it could be), but it’s better than getting motion sickness from simulated motion when we’re not actually moving. I really enjoyed the experience for its simplicity. There was limited interaction (teleportation), but unlimited exploration.