COLOSSE

March 4, 2019

Produced by: Colosse team, 2016

Created by: Nelson Boles – Animation, Joseph Chen – Producer, Kevin Dart – Art/Concept

Available on Steam, Oculus

Viewing system: Oculus, HTC Vive

 

Colosse is a short narrative VR experience that takes the user to a fantastical, polygonal, blue world. Made in 2016 by a small team of artists (Alex Grigg, Daniel Sproll, Eran Hilleli, Jasmin Lai, Joseph Chen, Kevin Dart, Nelson Boles, Nick Pittom), this piece follows the story of a fisher who is met by a giant beast. As a viewer, you are watching from the perspective of the fisher, so when a grumbling noise appears from behind, you turn around, as the character does, to see a geometric faceless beast 10 times your size walking towards you. This scene was one of my favorites in this experience.

The detail of the sound coming from behind is subtle, but is very effective in making the user turn around at the right moment to see the extraordinary beast approach.

 

Unlike this scene, one I found not as effective was closer to the end. This piece has no dialogue, and while that adds to the ominous feeling in the first half of the experience, it

subtracts clarity from the second half of the experience. Closer to the end, the fisher is in a cave hiding from the beast, somehow the beast falls down upon entering the cave, and

then the fisher proceeds to remove what appears to be the “core” or the “heart” of the beast. Without hearing dialogue or narration, this scene was fairly hard to understand, and

while as visually beautiful as the beginning, was less narratively clear. This scene left me with questions, like “why did the beast suddenly fall?” and “why did the fisher remove

it’s core?”

 

To expand on the experience’s visuals – a clear strength of this piece – they are nothing short of gorgeous. The opening of the film is set of a monochromatic blue beach. The set is simple and geometric – sand, a rocky shore, and low hanging clouds. The color, lighting, and composition are all deliberately and carefully crafted, giving this piece a painterly feeling. This scenery definitely drew me into this world, and kept me wanting to stay longer. Expanding on this experiences’ design choices, the character designs were also simple, yet effective. The fisher had a single-color robe on, tufts of hair peaking from his hood, baggy eyes, and no mouth. Despite this minimalistic character design, the emotions conveyed were always clear. Given the geometric design of the world, the character fit in, and the whole piece felt visually cohesive. This extends true for the beast. The beast was a slow, mechanically moving, vaguely anthropomorphic creature. While the beast did have many patterns and jagged edges, an overall color of medium blue and an overall silhouette of a star-like shape ground its design.

 

This experience, while narratively hard to follow at times, was visually enchanting, and left me wanting to spend more time on this blue beach.

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