Oculus Rift sounds like something taken right out of Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim. "Are you Rift compatible?" Instead, as it turns out, the cutting-edge visual tool is just the perfect way to experience the futuristic robots-versus-monsters universe… and it might play a hand in the development of Pacific Rim 2, which is coming in 2017.
Legendary Pictures has a booth set up at San Diego Comic-Con, where patrons can try on Oculus Rift headsets to immerse themselves into a Jaeger pilot training exercise. Basically, once you put the headset on, you are living through the opening scene of Pacific Rim, battling a toothy Kaiju alongside your Jaeger partner (and eventually losing that dude when things go sour).
Oculus Rift is a next-gen virtual reality kit that manipulates visuals and sounds to place the user INTO a scene. It is an incredible experience, occupying all sides of your peripheral area and making you feel like you are a complete part of the scene that you are watching. Only, you aren’t watching. You literally are participating. I think I missed out on a chunk of the Pacific Rim exhibit because I was so busy scanning every inch of the inside of a Jaeger from the pilot seat I suddenly was occupying. It was unreal.
San Diego Comic-Con patrons can go by Legendary’s booth on the Convention Center floor and test drive the Pacific Rim Oculus Rift. The studio explains:
Created by the leading pioneers of virtual reality, Oculus VR, the attraction delivers a new benchmark in virtual reality experiences as fans will step into a fully-realized Jaeger Combat Simulator and experience what it feels like to pilot a 250-story robot. Created with original film assets from Industrial Light & Magic and developed within Unreal Engine 4, Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot provides a thrilling first-person battle between Gipsy Danger and the kaiju codenamed Knifehead. Everyone who completes the simulation will sign-up to ‘Join the Fight’ and be awarded their own personalized Jaeger Pilot badge, paving the way for the future of the franchise."
As for Pacific Rim 2, I asked Legendary experts if the Oculus Rift technology could factor in to Guillermo Del Toro’s sequel, as in, theater seats could be equipped with headsets that plunge audiences into the world of Rim. They laughed and asked, with honesty, why you’d need a theater anymore? If and when the Oculus Rift technology becomes prevalent, audiences might be able to enjoy immersive, 3D experiences tied to blockbuster movies from the comforts of their own home. In other words, you might have a Kaiju in your living room in a few years. Suit up in a Jaeger, now!