Hardcore Henry offers glimpse into VR movie future

Hardcore Henry stillI recently saw Hardcore Henry at the local mall, a movie funded via a crowdfunding campaign and filmed completely in a video game-style first-person point of view.

This was not a great movie. It did not have a great plot, or great character development. It felt more watching someone play a video game, an extremely violent, fast-moving, photo-realistic video game.

If you are a 12-year-old boy — and, I admit, I am a 12-year-old boy trapped in the body of a middle-aged woman — you will love this movie.

More interestingly, this is a preview of what future, virtual-reality movies might look like. For example, many virtual reality filmmakers are currently struggling with the idea of how much autonomy to allow the viewer. How do you indicate which way the audience is supposed to look? And if they are allowed freedom of motion or action, how do you guide them along?

This movie suggests taking a page from video games, which have been dealing with these issues for years. In Hardcore Henry, for example, the supporting characters guide the titular character through the movie, providing hints about where to go, how to use new weapons, and setting goals.

Watch the official trailer for the movie below:

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Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • you think Hardcore Henry was cool maria, check out Hardcore Roosterteeth.
    Rooster Teeth is a production company mostly filming video game stuff and have released their first movie called Lazer Team and have teamed up with Hardcore Henry for this cool little PSA.
    The movie playing in the theater is Lazer Team
    FYI fowl language involved and behind the scenes of the making of it after the video in the same video.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_w-g0RgX8c

  • Ok, I found a camrip on the net and am watching it now. I get a bit of vertigo watching this which I don’t particularly like, but it is interesting enough to watch and see how it goes, tech wise.

    I kinda feel I am in wolfenstein again but with more verbalization from the bad guys than “Achtung!” or any of the variations noted here http://wolfenstein.wikia.com/wiki/Guard

    I don’t really like this idea, but I suppose it will get better with time.

  • Cynthia Stagner

    I feel its pretty much in Hollywood’s hands to throw money at development, and find a way to distribute VR without hurting box office revenue streams. That will then bring VR to mainstream instead of just in the hands of VR enthusiasts and gamers. Until then, its still yet to be seen if mass consumers will embrace VR. When I can be “inside” a movie with my favorite actors and even interacting with them (yes I know games have been doing this for decades), or in a dance number with the hottest pop stars, I will then go out and buy the gear, and also buy the gear for friends and families as gifts.

    I was invited to join a VR cinema production company startup. Its not been easy with even just attempting short stories and music videos. Its all problem-solving R&D which is huge money pit. VR post-production is 10x more challenging than traditional video/film editing. Low cost 360 video will reign for a while until VR cinema techniques evolve.

    Hopefully we won’t be sitting through too many Hardcore Henry action type VR experimental titles leaving us on the verge of vomiting from vertigo or brain pain from bad cuts. Scene transitions have to be re-invented for this new medium, and are key to the success of storytelling in VR. You can throw as much tech and CG at it as you want, but the bottom line is comfort and enjoyment for the user.

    cynthiastagner dot com
    mindvr dot com

    • Personally, I had no problems watching Hardcore Henry.

      And I guess you could look at problem-solving R&D as a huge money pit — or you can look at it as a way to help create the new language for the medium.

      I myself, when given the choice, would prefer to be a pioneer and take the risk of losing time and money on a dead-end solution, on the off chance that whatever I come up with will make it into the textbooks — but then again, my kids are grown up, and the house almost paid for.

      Except that I wouldn’t want to work on adult film sets. No matter how much they’re investing in VR production right now.