Square Enix Is Looking to Revolutionize Manga Using Virtual Reality
Square Enix recently released a new app called Tales of the Wedding Rings VR on Rift. The release explores the existing romantic comedy comic book story experience in VR, giving viewers a chance to explore the story within the virtual reality medium for the first time ever through moving panels and completely 3D scenes open for exploration.
Tales of the Wedding Rings VR marks the first chapter of Project Hikari, a new initiative spearheaded by Square Enix’s Advanced Technology Division that seeks to evolve and revolutionize traditional manga using VR.
“After months of prototyping, it became clear to me that VR would evolve into a gateway to new worlds,” said Kaei Sou, Project Hikari’s lead. “I was convinced these new worlds could be filled with rich narratives that capture people’s imagination.”
The story allows you to jump in and out of the comic’s panels like portals, with characters moving into frames from all kinds of angles—behind, above, and below. And with the addition of voice acting, an original score, and sound effects, the team is really trying to bring new life to the monochromatic world of manga in unique ways.
“The composer, Yamazaki-san, and I spent many afternoons listening to references and discussing what would be ideal for the story,” Sou said. “One of our inspirations was the idea that this project contains elements from the analog and digital eras. We decided to go with something that sounds modern, but with a hint of retro thrown in as both of us are fans of anime from the ’80s.”
This unique mix of technology and comics is an exciting and promising mix, but there are no doubt graphic novel purists who might see this as an unwanted evolution—but Sou isn’t worried.
“As a fan, I’m always excited to experience my favorite titles in a new way,” he said. “It’s important to me such adaptations remain true to the source material. This was the number one goal of the project—to make sure we don’t disappoint fans of the original work.”
Tales of the Wedding Rings VR is available on Rift now for $19.99.