Ready to step into the shoes of Mark Watney—the hero of the hit book and film The Martian—and see if you can survive for months on end on the red planet?
Starting tomorrow, if you have either an HTC Vive or Sony PlayStation VR, you’ll be able to do just that. That’s thanks to the Fox Innovation Lab‘s The Martian VR Experience, an immersive, 20-minute exploration of some of the most compelling tasks Watney had to navigate in Andy Weir’s surprise hit novel and Ridley Scott’s blockbuster film. Made by veteran film director Robert Stromberg, it is perhaps Hollywood’s most ambitious VR project to date, and representative of a strategy that Fox, more than its rival studios, is pursuing: Creating virtual reality experiences that are themselves profit centers rather than merely promotional vehicles for existing films.
Fox is releasing the project initially for Vive and PSVR because both VR platforms utilize handheld controllers that allow users to do things with their hands, such as drive a Martian rover or move a series of solar panels into place. That’s not currently possible on the other high-end VR platform currently on the market, the Oculus Rift, although that system’s controllers hit the market next month.