Telling a story set after the events in “Avengers: Endgame,” players in VR headsets and backpacks are introduced to the encounter by the Black Panther’s sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), who, in the story, has devised suits based on her brother’s uniform combined with Iron Man’s tech from Stark Industries. Those small groups are then dispatched to fight off a threat — using Iron Man-like blasts to shoot down enemies — which is augmented by a variety of haptic effects, including wind, heat and smell. (The faint whiff of popcorn, for example, which given the moment, is a nice touch.)
“Fans wanted to have a longer experience,” Shereif Fattouh, senior producer at ILMxLAB, explained at a demonstration of the “Damage Control” program. Without disclosing a budget, he added that there were “no holds barred in delivering on the fantasy.”
Beyond the video featuring Wright, several actors in the Marvel universe — including Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly — lent their voices to the project.
Virtual reality remains expensive relative to movie-going — prices vary, but tickets run close to $40 at the Void location in Anaheim, near Disneyland — and the suggestion is for children age 10 and up.
Still, the technical wizards continue to improve and refine the technology, from more elaborate storytelling to immersive imagery that offers fans the “wish-fulfillment,” as they designers put it, of getting a taste of what it would be like to don Iron Man’s suit, or at least a version of it.
For those weaned on the characters, said ILMxLAB experience designer Ian Bowie, once the backpack and headset are strapped on, “You get to live it.”
“Avengers: Damage Control” will begin playing at The Void locations on Oct. 18.