If you're a fan of sci-fi, chances are high you've seen Ridley Scott's blockbuster The Martian starring Matt Damon as Mark Watney, the resourceful astronaut who has to figure out how to survive on Mars after being left for dead by his fellow crew members. Or as Damon delivered in one of the film's more memorable lines, he has to "science the shit" out of his situation. Come tomorrow, you can make the leap from captivated viewer to active participant when The Martian VR Experience releases to the HTC Vive (via Steam) and PlayStation VR.
Taking a virtual trip to Mars will cost $20, a veritable bargain compared to the tens of millions of dollars Space Adventures charges for tourist trips to the International Space Station.
For the virtual version, which was created by Fox Innovation Lab in partnership with RSA Films and The Virtual Reality Company, Ridley Scott handed over directorial duties to Robert Stromberg while taking on the task of executive producer. Players will take the role of Watney, seeing Mars from his perspective and performing tasks crucial for survival—just as in the film. Some of the things players will be able to do include flying onto the surface of Mars, navigating space at zero gravity, and driving a rover in a 360-degree virtual environment.
"I’ve always tried to approach filmmaking from the standpoint of creating an immersive experience. Now with the tools that are available to us in virtual reality, we can raise the bar even higher. The audience can experience storytelling in ways we previously could only imagine," said Ridley Scott, who is also co-founder of RSA Films. "Mars has never been closer to being within our grasp and I’m so thrilled that we can invite people into The Martian VR Experience."
This is Fox Innovation Labs' second time building a virtual experience around a feature film. Its first attempt put players in the role of Reese Witherspoon's character for the film Wild.
As with many VR experiences, the scope of this probably won't be on the same level as something like Skyrim. But for $20, it's another affordable way to punch a ticket to Mars in VR.