Ubisoft Films, New Regency and 20th Century Fox are preparing to launch the Assassin’s Creed movie globally on December 21. To promote the feature film based on Ubisoft’s bestselling video game franchise, AMD, Alienware, Fox Innovation Lab and Practical Magic have partnered to promote the feature film through an exclusive five-minute virtual reality experience that is available on Facebook 360 today.
There’s also a takeover of The Game Awards green room (now dubbed the red room) in Los Angeles tonight, where kiosks featuring Oculus Rift and AMD-powered Alienware Aurora PCs will showcase the 360-degree experience. Beginning Friday, similar kiosks will tour across the country in AMC Theaters in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin and New York City through January 1, 2017.
Jeff Elefterion executive vice president of domestic marketing at New Regency said Assassin’s Creed is the perfect fit for a VR experience, not only because of its origins in the gaming world but because of the very nature of its unique and fascinating storyline.
“The main protagonist in the film, Cal Lynch, is hooked up to a machine called the Animus, which virtually transports him to another time and place to experience the life of his ancestor,” Elefterion said. “What could be more perfect in terms of applying that concept to a VR experience?”
Chris Sutphen, director of product marketing at Alienware, told [a]listdaily that in addition to the theatrical marketing campaign, the company will be sharing information and getting the word out in email and social media.
“We’re gamers too, so we know it feels a little validating when a game-related intellectual property enters mainstream culture,” Sutphen said. “We’ve seen it with game-related movies for years, and we’re seeing it with eSports today. We feel that these are moments to celebrate with other gamers because they represent milestones in the story of video game culture.”
The Assassin’s Creed VR Experience puts players in the role of a new assassin and features a cameo from Michael Fassbender, who produces and stars in the big screen film. The VR experience tells an original story that was filmed on the movie sets across London’s Pinewood Studios, Malta and in Los Angeles. It focuses on the Spanish Inquisition but also gives fans an up-close 360-degree video of the Animus (a kind of virtual reality time traveling machine) that was created for the big screen adventure.
“The Radeon Technologies Group worked closely with the developer for the content, Practical Magic, assisting them with technical advice, supplying them with hardware, early driver access and engineering support for optimizations,” Roy Taylor, corporate vice president of alliances at AMD, told [a]listdaily. “James Knight, virtual production director for AMD RTG whose credits include Avatar, I Am Legend and Spider-Man, helped the Practical Magic team and worked closely with them too.”
Taylor said the Radeon Technologies Group Loom technology is an advanced solution for real time stitching for 360 VR video.
“It is proving exceptionally popular because of its high performance and excellent quality,” Taylor said. “Optimized to be used in conjunction with AMD Radeon Pro professional graphics both were supplied for the making of the Assassins Creed VR Experience. In addition, the target playback performance was aimed at the popular Polaris RX 480 and RX 470 VR Ready graphics solutions used by Dell/Alienware and which will form the most popular graphics solution for location-based experiences and home users around the world.”
Ubisoft has sold over 80 million copies of Assassin’s Creed to date, although there’s no new game this year. Instead, the big screen feature and this virtual reality experience will have to satiate fans of the sci-fi series.
“This VR experience will give gamers a chance to experience the Assassin’s Creed universe in a way they haven’t been able to before,” Elefterion said. “This is not the game. And it’s not the movie. It is an immersive experience that will hopefully build on the already legendary fascination with this unique property by making the viewer feel as if he or she is part of what they are watching.”
Virtual reality is continuing to gain steam, thanks to a huge influx of investment from companies like Facebook, Sony, Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, HTC and AMD. Experiences like this have opened up new marketing opportunities for companies like Alienware.
“This is an important moment in PC gaming. HTC Vive and Oculus Rift have proven that PC offers the best VR experience,” Sutphen said. “And we see a real opportunity to let people know that an Alienware rig is the perfect computer to power these VR experiences. PC gaming is getting even more attention from the general public because of VR.”