How Fox’s “The Martian VR Experience” Became Hollywood’s Most Ambitious VR Experiment

There is, of course, a short demo of The Martian VR Experience, available on just about any virtual reality platform. Coming in at about three minutes, it offers a tease of the full version, bringing users to Mars and showing them a few glimpses of life inside Watney’s helmet. But with the demo version, there’s no interactivity, except for letting users look around them in 360 degrees. Otherwise, it’s a fully passive experience.

The full version requires a high-end VR system, such as the Oculus Rift, HTC’s Vive, or Sony’s PlayStation VR, all of which have handheld controllers that allow users to do things with their hands, opening the door to potentially far richer active experiences than is possible with mobile-phone-based VR hardware like Samsung’s Gear VR or Google’s Cardboard, which offer less interactivity.

All told, the full Martian VR Experience takes users through seven different scenes, each of which exploit the interactive features of the Rift, the Vive, or the PSVR.