Wolves in the Walls takes home the award for Outstanding Innovation in Interactive Media.
Fable Studio, the developer behind emotional rollercoaster Wolves in the Walls, today announced that the interactive VR film has officially been awarded the Primetime Emmy for ‘Outstanding Innovation in Interactive Media.’ Competing alongside ILMxLAB’s episodic Star Wars VR series, Vader Immortal: Episode One, Wolves in the Walls’ win marks the first Emmy award given to a project involving an artificial personality, aka a virtual being.
Based on Neil Gaiman’s award-winning book of the same name, Wolves in the Walls follows 8-year old Lucy, an imaginative young girl who begins to suspect the walls of her home are filled with ferocious wolves. As we follow Lucy throughout her journey, we experience the immersive story from her emotional point-of-view.
For example, when Lucy turns off the lights of her attic, the room begins to contort and twist as she becomes more afraid; as she attempts to explain the danger to her emotionally-distant father, we see his character grow further and further away from Lucy physically. The story is told through a series of visual metaphors that represent Lucy’s emotions.
“This is an experience about togetherness, a relationship between a character, Lucy and a person, You,” said Pete Billington (Creative Director) & Jessica Shamash (Creative Producer) in an official release. “This is about a child’s imagination and taking you back to your childhood friendships.”
“The feelings where anything was possible and everything was larger than life. It’s seeing the world through an 8-year olds eyes. We go so far as to rescale you to Lucy’s height, which creates this intimate bond and connection so you are literally seeing the world through her eyes. You’re not just watching a character’s story, you’re a part of it.”
Lucy, however, is much more than a simple NPC (nonplayable character). Using a combination of machine learning technology and artificial intelligence, Lucy is capable of interacting with users on a deeper level than a scripted avatar.
The AI remembers conversations between itself and the user, retains key data, and then uses that information in later interactions. Users form an emotional bond with Lucy during these personalized discussions, instilling a powerful feeling of empathy in the process.
“In order to balance narrative and the ability to use your hands, we’ve structured the experience around intuitive interactions that advance the narrative or bring us closer to Lucy. It is the difference between conscious and subconscious interaction,” Shamash explains.
“Natural, intuitive interactions were the big unlock for us. They promote deep character connections and shared sense memories,” adds Billington. “Sometimes when you are exploring in the dark it’s comforting to know that others are not too far away, hands outstretched, searching alongside you. It has been inspiring to be part of this juried award category. We are humbled and grateful for the encouragement and recognition.”
Fable Studio’s Wolves in the Walls joins last years Outstanding Innovation in Interactive Media winner, Oculus Studios’ Henry.
“This is the first Virtual Being project to receive an Emmy but it won’t be the last,” adds Edward Saatchi, Co-founder of Fable Studio.”Virtual Beings from lil Miquela to Mica, from Alexa to Lucy are revolutionizing storytelling and beginning to harness machine learning to create meaningful relationships with us.”
“Eventually a Virtual Being will win an Oscar for their performance in a live-action movie, win a Grammy for best album of the year, be your favorite celebrity on Instagram, your favorite spiritual guide and, eventually … your OS.”
Featured Image Credit: Fable Studio
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