Gary has it rough. He’s a seagull. He’s a bit sarcastic. And really, all he wants to do is to sneak food out of your cooler. But you, and a pesky crab, keep getting in the poor gull’s way.
Gary the Gull is a new interactive animated film from Limitless VR and interactive character studio Motional Entertainment, two new platforms founded by Pixar alumni Tom Sanocki and Mark Walsh—respectively. But this free short for the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Playstation VR isn’t static. It’s interactive in ways beyond spinning round and round to take in your surroundings. The film itself is directed by your own gaze, voice, and gestures. Gary interacts with you depending on what you say or do, be it a shake of the head, or even just introducing yourself.
Gary reacts to your voice and gestures
The dialogue between yourself and Gary can go in a number of different directions—even if the primary course of events that transpire over the short’s few minutes remain the same. Gary can snipe at you, or joke around. You can gaze up at the clouds he directs you to—a ploy to distract you while he sneaks more snacks—or ignore him. Gary the Gull also has more interactivity in store for viewers, aside from the whole ‘personally interact with this animated creature’ thing. The player can lift up objects in their vicinity, like a drink or a stick, and even use the stick to draw in the sand. Draw something special, and Gary might just have a remark about it.
The all-too brief short film marks the start of interactive characters in virtual reality, or at least, those beyond traditional videogames. Gary the Gull ultimately tests if it’s possible for us to build emotional connections through fictional characters in VR. Even a sassy little con-artist seagull.