Last year at the Tribeca Film Festival, I was invited to a special preview of a semi-interactive non-movie non-game hybrid called Allumette, which would have its world premiere a few days later. It was a forty-five-minute solo session where I was able to experience Allumette for the 20 minutes of the demo and then talk to Eugene Chung, Allumette’s director and the founder of Penrose Studios, which created it. Those 20 minutes were, and I mean this in the least hyperbolic way possible, a life-changing experience for me. I have been following (and writing about) virtual reality experiences for years, and the technology has had a very real hold on me and my thoughts. I spend hours thinking about a lot of the philosophical questions that inevitably result from the development of immersive digital worlds. Allumette gave me a lot to think about.
I didn’t write about Allumette for Dtoid's film-focused sister site, Flixist, but Hubert Vigilla did, and he’s a better writer than I am anyway… so you should check that write-up out.
This year, Penrose Studios brought a new project to the Tribeca Film Festival: Arden’s Wake. They showed a fifteen-minute prologue that serves as the introduction to what will ultimately be a larger story of they-didn’t-tell-me length. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to talk to Chung again, but those fifteen minutes gave a sense of just how far the studio has come in one year and also where this sort of storytelling can go in the future.