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'Planet Earth II' Team Partners Oculus to Create VR Experiences

Tyrone Stewart

Black BearFollowing on from the success of BBC’s Planet Earth II, the production team behind it, BBC Earth, has joined forces with Oculus to launch three VR experiences. The experiences will invite users to step into the lives of different animals.

Users will be able to explore the ‘daily adventures’ of a Caracal cat, an Oogpister beetle and black bears. All three VR episodes, free for the first three months, will be released separately on Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR this January.

The first episode, featuring the Caracal cat, is called ‘Cat Flight’. It will demonstrate how the predators survive in the world and allow users to free the feline mid-jump to enjoy a 360-degree look at the cat.

The second experience, ‘Oogie’, features the Oogpister beetle. In this episode, based on real life BBC Earth footage, the user will take the form of the beetle and be tasked with guiding it to safety in the African Savannah – avoiding various obstacles and predators along the way.

The final episode, ‘Bear Island’, presents an interactive 360-degree video – where the user joins black bears on a journey to the banks of an Alaskan river. The user will be able to jump between different perspectives and parallel storylines to ‘let the audience feel as though they are really there’.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Oculus to give audiences a completely different insight into the natural world,” said Julia Kenyon, global brands director for BBC Worldwide. “By allowing users to immerse themselves in the environments of these three animals, we are hoping to bring people rich and unforgettable adventures different from any traditional natural history series.’’