- Discover the origins of ‘The Grand Getaway’ and its connection to ‘A Grand Day Out.’
- Insights from visionary director Finbar Hawkins and producer Joseph Bell.
- The artistic choices that bring vintage sci-fi aesthetics into the VR world.
- How the transition to VR seamlessly enhances the humor and charm of Wallace and Gromit.
- The return of Beryl, the AI companion, and its role in guiding players through the VR adventure
“In the realm of virtual reality (VR) adventures, ‘Wallace and Gromit in The Grand Getaway’ stands as the pioneering venture for this beloved duo, paying homage to their classic escapade, ‘A Grand Day Out.’ Set to launch on the Quest platform later this year, we had the privilege of conversing with the masterminds behind this VR marvel.
Read on for a comprehensive exploration of our insightful conversation.
Crafted by the ingenious minds at Aardman in collaboration with No Ghost and Atlas V, ‘Wallace and Gromit in The Grand Getaway’ resurfaced in June, following the much-anticipated announcement last year.
The narrative revolves around Wallace’s charmingly chaotic mix-up of dates for their impending vacation, prompting the iconic pair to embark on a journey aboard their trusty orange Rocket. As fate would have it, their trajectory is abruptly altered, leaving them stranded amidst the desolate landscapes of Mars.
Our first-hand encounter with ‘The Grand Getaway’ occurred during its world premiere at the Venice Immersive event held in the picturesque locales of Italy. Soon, we shall unveil our detailed impressions, but in the weeks leading up to this exclusive premiere, we conducted a probing email-based Q&A session with the brilliant minds from Aardman, No Ghost, and Atlas V.
Commencing our exploration of ‘The Grand Getaways’ genesis, Finbar Hawkins, the visionary director and wordsmith at Aardman, shared how this concept was birthed through a serendipitous meeting with the creative minds at No Ghost.
He elucidates that their studio was ardently seeking to materialize ‘high-level’ concepts in partnership with Atlas V, who expressed a keen interest in commissioning a project based on established intellectual property.
Joseph Bell, a prominent producer at Aardman, further elaborates on this collaboration, affirming that ‘Grand Getaway’ is an independent creation, distinct from the impending film adaptation.
As the framework for the Mars-centric narrative took shape, Hawkins, along with his fellow Aardman director Bram Ttwheam and the creative input of Merlin Crossingham, worked tirelessly to craft a sweeping narrative.
The indomitable spirit behind the original ‘Wallace and Gromit series, Nick Park, lent his wisdom to further expand upon this imaginative universe.
When probed about the rationale behind the Mars setting, Bell elucidates that ‘The Grand Getaway’ pays homage to the classic ‘A Grand Day Out,’ evoking the nostalgic charm of grand adventures from a bygone era.
With the introduction of VR technology, the audience is beckoned into a new, immersive frontier, mirroring the initial audacity of the first film that introduced these beloved characters to the world.
Delving deeper, we were privy to early glimpses of the diverse and captivating landscapes that would grace the VR canvas – a transition from the iconic dining room and Rocket to enigmatic, uncharted territories.
Both Team and I, enthusiasts of vintage B-movie aesthetics, felt an ardent desire to infuse this VR experience with the enchanting allure of 1950s and 1960s science fiction cinema.
This artistic choice harmoniously aligns with the timeless charm of Wallace and Gromit’s classic visual style, effectively weaving a seamless thread through their entire cinematic repertoire.
Given that Hawkins and Team had previously collaborated on ‘The Big Fix-Up,’ I inquired about whether the augmented reality (AR) project had influenced the development of ‘The Grand Getaway.’ Ttwheam described the AR venture as a valuable primer in worldbuilding, emphasizing the active participation of the audience in shaping the narrative.
Beryl, an AI ally from the AR game, has made a comeback, according to Hawkins. He said, “Beryl proved indispensable in ‘The Big Fix-Up,’ aiding users in navigating the experience.” Beryl was viewed as a crucial aid to help players navigate the journey because one character remained silent and the other personified a particular humorous ineptitude.
But does converting the popular series to VR provide any difficulties? Surprisingly, it did not. Bell commended virtual reality as a valuable instrument that provided fresh opportunities for humor that effortlessly matched the story.
He emphasized that the world inhabited by Wallace and Gromit is tactile and fully realized, drawing viewers in even on traditional screens.
Translating this immersive world into an interactive VR landscape was a natural fit.
Hawkins elaborated on the artistic freedom that VR offered, indicating that the scenarios and interactions that could be created in the VR environment were virtually limitless.
The team stressed the need to stick by the established rules of comedy within the dynamic of the collaboration, highlighting the seamless translation of their character dynamics into the VR world.