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Tie-ins between movies and games don't always do so great, just the same as game-based movies don't always do so great. Well, Fox is trying something a little different with Alien: Covenant by creating a more definitive experience using the power of virtual reality.
According to a report from Variety, Fox isn't just looking to cash in on a quick VR tie-in experience. They're working together with the Fox Innovation Lab, MPC VR and RSA Films to create an all new virtual reality experience centered around the Alien universe.
It sounds more like a walking simulator than anything else, but gamers have become accustomed to this sub-genre of games and it works out well when it works right, as evident with certain titles that people have grown to really enjoy, such as Dear Esther, Slender or The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.
And speaking of the Slender Man... the Alien: Covenant VR experience will be similar in theme, given that it will be a horror game. Users will walk through alien environments experiencing "horrifying" events where various decisions could mean turning into a vessel for a chest buster or becoming food for the second pair of jaws located within the xenomorph's mouth.
The real kicker here is that Alien: Covenant director Ridley Scott is the executive producer of the upcoming VR experience. The VR spin-off will be directed by David Karlak. This is actually not the first VR title that Fox has had dealings with. According to the article, they've actually been dipping their toes in the VR arena well ahead of their decision to combine virtual reality with the Alien saga.
Back in 2016, they released The Martian VR Experience during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas for the HTC Vive, PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift. The VR app was based on the movie of the same name, The Martian, starring Hollywood celebrity Matt Damon.
Other studios have also been applying their research and development departments to integrating VR into their movie experiences. Sony had a small augmented VR spin-off game made for their 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters, which was designed using the Unity 3D game engine. The title allowed multiple users to walk around in an apartment and blast down and capture ghosts using VR headsets and real life prop weapons.
They don't mention in the Variety article if the Alien: Covenant experience will tie together with an augmented reality experience, but based on the way the article is worded it will likely be a downloadable app for compatible VR devices, including the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR.
The first thing that comes to mind with this news is that this could likely end up being like Alien: Isolation, which seemed ripe for a VR experience. If it's anything like Creative Assembly's take on the franchise then it could definitely spell good tidings for the VR market and help bolster the appeal of Alien: Covenant within the hardcore and casual gaming market. Again, a lot of this will depend on the execution, because the Alien franchise is a perfect fit for VR.
There's no release date on when this VR app will be made available but Variety assumes it will likely release sometime before the movie heads to theaters in May.