‘Ralph Breaks VR’ Hyper-Reality Experience Is An All-Out Assault On Your Senses
Break into the internet in the latest location-based VR experience from ILMxLAB & The VOID.
A direct tie-in to Ralph Breaks the Internet, the sequel to Disney Animation Studios’ 2012 smash-hit, Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph Breaks VR will be available at select VOID Experience Centers beginning November 21st.
Developed in collaboration with ILMxLAB, The VOID, and Walt Disney Animation Studios, Ralph Breaks VR utilizes The VOID and ILMxLAB’s impressive location-based VR technology to deliver an original story set within the Wreck-It Ralph universe that takes users through a variety of digital locations for an immersive experience that manages to captivate nearly all of your senses.
Disguised as ‘Netizens,’ colorful characters that inhabit the world wide web, teams of four will infiltrate the Internet to join Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz in order to play in what Ralph promises is “newest, coolest video game ever.” However, when a megalomaniacle security system referred to a B.E.V. (Built to Eradicate Viruses) suddenly comes online, you and your crew must battle the evil network in order to escape eradication by solving a series of puzzles while taking down hordes of evil kitties and aggressive bunnies.
“It’s incredible to work on an experience like Ralph Breaks VR that lets you live inside a film you’ve spent years creating,” said Pamela Ribon, Co-Writer for Ralph Breaks the Internet, writer for Ralph Breaks VR, and voice of B.E.V.. “ILMxLAB and The VOID have built a world where Ralph and Vanellope really come alive around you.”
Upon entering the experience, the first thing you notice is the lack of any controller peripheral. Ralph Breaks VR utilizes Leap Motion tracking devices mounted to the front of the headsets to capture each players hand movements. This makes sense considering the first objective tasked my group with correctly hand-selecting a constantly changing panel of buttons in order to fix . Choose the wrong one and you’ll receive a little shock thanks to the The VOID’s haptic vests.
The developers claim this first objective exists to assist users in acclimating to their new virtual environment by allowing them to perform a series of simple interactions using their own two hands. The following segment actually separated my team in half, sending two of my allies far across the map. Of course in reality my companions and I were all still standing in the same room, but while in-game it truly felt as though they hundreds of feet away; a gameplay device intended to make the player believe “the impossible is possible,” according to the developers. Its all part of the VOID’s company-wide rule book for ensuring the perfect location-based experience.
From there, my team and I took on a variety of colorful challenges, from taking out waves of insane bunnies and kitties with confection-firing weapons at the Pancake Milkshake Diner, to bringing down automated security drones with pancake bullets and milkshake grenades; all of which enhanced by a series of delightful aromas being emitted throughout the play-space. There were actually a few moments where I could genuinely taste the delicious-looking pancakes I was blasting at my adorable foes. And while the experience is an overall cooperative adventure, there is a point system — so be sure to keep you eyes open and your pancake rifle handy, otherwise you’ll find yourself at the bottom of the leader board.
“Designing the elements that pull you irresistibly into the unique world of Ralph and Vanellope has been an incredibly fun process,” said Curtis Hickman, Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder of The VOID. “What we’ve created together with ILMxLAB is an astounding adventure that allows people to experience a unique extension of Wreck – It Ralph’s detailed characters, environments and stories. With this new experience we are able to truly showcase the capabilities of The VOID, allowing guests to once more step beyond reality.”
Seeing as the franchise itself is primarily targeting a younger demographic, it was surprising to encounter so many moments directed at an older audience throughout the experience. One portion had my team and I participating in a souped-up version of Space Invaders, complete with devastating air strikes and interrupting hordes of pixellated flies.
With Ralph Breaks VR, it looks as though ILMxLAB and The VOID are attempting to appeal to the entire family household, expanding past the more adult immersive experiences currently offered, such as Ghostbusters: Dimensions, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire or Nicodemus: Demon Of Evanishment. With such a wide option of interactions catering to a variety of ages, there’s no doubt this would be the perfect experience for kids and parents alike.
“There is nothing more magical than stepping inside a rich animated world – especially one filled with color, life, humor and delightful characters as is the case with Ralph Breaks the Internet,” said Vicki Dobbs Beck, Executive in Charge at ILMxLAB. “The upcoming launch of this project marks another successful collaboration between ILMxLAB and The VOID, with the incredible opportunity to work alongside the talented teams at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Ralph Breaks VR is an experience that brings a smile to your face and the desire to have another go around with friends and family.”
The only issue I can find with Ralph Breaks VR is in it length. Like many other VOID experiences, Ralph Breaks VR is extremely short. Only by the end of the adventure did I feel as though I was truly warming up to the virtual environment. And while the team did do an impressive job at cramming in so many fantastic games and memorable moments in such a short time-frame, 11-minutes of virtual content didn’t feel like it was enough when you consider its price tag of $30 per person. So while I don’t think families will be clamouring to spend $120 after stepping out of the film — like they could at the Cinemark West Plano location in Plano, Texas — it could still make for a fun family excursion all on its own, whether you’re a fan of the franchise or just have a serious sweet tooth.
Ralph Breaks VR will be available November 21st at the following VOID Experience Centers:
- Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL
- Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA Glendale Galleria in Glendale, CA
- The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian | The Palazzo in Las Vegas, NV Cinemark WestPlano in Plano, TX
- The Rec Room West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
- The Rec Room Toronto Roundhouse in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Tickets start at $29.95 per person and may vary per location.
For more information visit TheVOID.com.
Image Credit: ILMxLAB / The VOID / Walt Disney Animation Studios