Realm Pictures Goes All In On Real First Person Shooter; Brilliant New Form Of Interactive Entertainment

from the this-rocks dept

Last month, we wrote our very first “Content Creator of the Month” post all about Realm Pictures, a cool video production house in the UK. Realm had done some truly amazing things over the past few years, embracing the internet in new and unique ways, from their no-budget film Zomblies to the astounding Underwater Realm, for which they’d held a very successful Kickstarter campaign. In August, however, they had a massively viral hit when they created a “real first person shooter,” while having some fun in their offices (which happened to be an old church), finding “players” via ChatRoulette (which, yes, apparently still exists). You might have seen it:

It’s currently got about 8.5 million views, and is still amazing. The week after it came out, I got to interview Dave Reynolds, who runs Realm and is the “director” (and the voice) in that video. A few times in the interview I pointed out that this was an amazing new form of interactive entertainment, though it felt like he was trying to push off that claim, saying it was just something they did for fun on a weekend. I also asked him this: “Have you thought about letting people pay to play this or future such games?” And he rejected the idea outright, saying:

We feel like a lot of what made this resonate with viewers so strongly, was the fact that they were completely random players who had just stumbled upon this game online, and making people pay to play would make the experience less special somehow.

Apparently, he seems to have reconsidered on both accounts (I’m sure because plenty of others made the same point, so I don’t think I can claim credit on this…). Today, Realm released Level 2 of their Real Life First Person shooter, and in many ways it’s more advanced and impressive than the first:

And also, as with last time (and as with many of their projects), there’s a great behind the scenes video as well.

But much more interesting than that is that the Realm team seems to now agree that this is a fascinating form of interactive entertainment, that they want to focus on. With the new level, Realm has also launched along with a Kickstarter campaign, whereby you can help to fund Level 3 of the game.

And it’s not just about funding. 50 of the people who back the project will get to play Level 3. Oh, and there’s a lot more as well. They’re going to do a prologue part, where all the backers can watch it streamed live and vote in real time how the character should act — like the famous Twitch plays Pokemon event from a few years ago, but more fun. Plus backers get to help guide the making of the later levels as well. And all of that comes for merely £1.

It sounds like this will keep going for multiple levels. And the stuff they’re working on sounds great. As Dave says: “We have the best AI in the industry, because it’s not artificial.”

This looks… amazing.

The only thing I’m slightly surprised about is the decision to do it on Kickstarter (you can also back them directly via Paypal for the same reward), rather than something like Patreon. When I interviewed Dave, he seemed a bit down on Kickstarter, saying that he felt the bubble was “beginning to burst.” With Patreon, they could have done the same thing, but then gotten people to pay £1 each time they release a new level — but perhaps they didn’t like going that route. Either way, the whole project looks really cool, and amazingly creative. I’ve put in my £1, and I’m excited to see what they come up with next…

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Companies: realm pictures

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Comments on “Realm Pictures Goes All In On Real First Person Shooter; Brilliant New Form Of Interactive Entertainment”

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Anonymous Coward says:


First time I saw this kind of game and holy sh**! This is AMAZING! It kind of reminds me of the old laser tag games but in a more creepy and “with a PC” kind of way.

And I have to admit that I am kind of sad that I never used ChatRoulette because this had made my day. A real live action horror game? Who can say no to that? I kind of hate myself for not using ChatRoulette after watching the 2nd video… Darn you TD! DAAARNNN YOUUU! and also Realm.

Anonymous Coward says:

The changes to the set design concept from Level 1 are excellent. Too bad nobody seemed to carry the robot with them to the lower platform. They could have created some interesting plot twists with that.

At least now we know where the zombies in Level 1 came from.

I think Level 3 is definitely the right place to introduce crowdfunding on this — and as the universe opens up, they’re going to need a larger budget….

What I’d really like to see out of this is for them to eventually do enough levels to put together a full feature-length movie. They could even do it with alternative scenes/cuts!

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