Virtual Reality producers Baobab Studios, the developers behind Bonfire, Asteroids!, have announced that “Star Wars” actor Daisy Ridley will lead their next VR project, “Baba Yaga,” presenting a Work in Progress panel at Annecy International Animation Festival’s 2020 Online.
Baba Yaga will be co-directed by the studio’s Co-Founder Eric Darnell and French director Mathias Chelebourg. The experience will be “a contemporary portrayal of the Eastern European legend inspired by illustrative 2D pop-up animation, hand-drawn and stop-motion styles.”
Viewers play the main role in this reimagined tale, where their mother, the village chief, becomes deathly ill. So they’re tasked alongside their 10-year-old sister Magda, voiced by Ridley to do what their village fears most – enter the forest where Baba Yaga lives and get the cure. The only problem, the witch is sometimes a force for evil, sometimes a force for good, using her powers to halt the villager’s encroachment into her domain.
Viewers will have choices to make along the way, determining how the story will end and whether humanity and nature can find a balance.
Daisy Ridley will be playing Magda in this interactive animation and VR short. “Baobab is at the very forefront of VR and interactive animation, so it’s been exciting to work with Eric and the team to bring such a beautiful story to life, I love playing Magda, because she is brave, vulnerable and fiercely protective of her family all at the same time. The idea that the viewer will be able to genuinely interact with my character in this magical world and help steer the course of the narrative is so amazing,” said Ridley.
“With ‘Invasion,’ our first piece, there were no hand controllers and all you could do was look around. It took from then to now for us to learn and for the technology to be there to really interact with the other characters,” producer and Baobab CEO Maureen Fan told news website Variety ahead of the Annecy presentation.
Baobab Studios says Baba Yaga will premiere later this year, in ‘multiple formats’.
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