Blade Runner Immerses Audiences in 2049 at SDCC

Below is an exclusive inside look at the Blade Runner immersive activation at San Diego Comic Con in 2017. 

Video by Cara Mandel.

Immersive entertainment reigned supreme at San Diego Comic-Con. Numerous activations utilized fully-realized sets, live-actors, virtual reality (VR), and food and beverage to immersive audiences in the world they were promoting. Alcon Entertainment incorporated all of the above to bring the world of Warner Brother’s upcoming film, Blade Runner 2049 to audiences in the Blade Runner 2049 Experience.

 

The Blade Runner Experience

The experience begins as up to twenty-four participants are seated in movie-theater style seating and are fitted with their own Gear VR mobile headsets. Audiences assume the role of a Blade Runner, in hot pursuit of a rogue Replicant. A five-minute flying car chase ensues as the D-Box seats pitch, roll, and rumble in perfect synchronization with the VR action. While VR is novel and exciting already, it’s really this combination of real-world effects and the virtual setting that immerses audiences and elevates this experience beyond that of other VR experiences.

 

As we fly through the digital recreation of the Blade Runner world, we shoot down the Replicant–landing just outside of a bustling market plaza. Removing the headsets reveals that the real-world setting has transformed: the Replicant’s car now sits in front of us, crashed. Beggars look for any salvageable parts while Police scour the area for clues. “Do you know who was driving this car?” one questions me a little too close to comfort. I move through real rain and join the crowds in the market place. Yet, these crowds aren’t patrons–they are live actors, all dressed to match the bleak, futuristic setting.

 

The world inside of the Blade Runner 2049 Experience is gorgeous. Ladies of the night, cops, vendors, and customers all move throughout the space. Shadows of aerialists dance in the windows of Bibi’s Bar, offering guests a flight of Red, Black, and Blue Johnnie Walker Whiskey. Take a seat at the counter of an authentic noodle bar and learn the special ingredient of the noodles, or just eat them in blissful ignorance. Approach the vending machines and purchase some Smeat (Big Beef) or 100% Quikkorn–but you may just be safer getting a T-shirt. Yet, the best part is the amount of live actors constantly engaging you, providing meaningful and witty banter, and letting you discover the world of Blade Runner. It is these aspects that made the Blade Runner 2049 Experience one of the most memorable aspects of San Diego Comic-Con and a successful immersive experience in its own right.

 

For more information on Warner Brother’s upcoming film, Blade Runner 2049 visit the official website.

 

For more information on our San Diego Comic-Con coverage, check out our coverage of the Westworld immersive activation by HBO and Campfire and the Midnight, Texas activation by NBC.

 

Filmed by Cara Mandel

Edited by Jon Kobryn

Music by Davron Mananov

Article by Taylor Winters

About The Author

Taylor Winters
Taylor has loved immersive theater since his first experience at ALONE in 2013. Since then, he has written, produced, & directed immersive theater, consulted for numerous immersive companies, acted in others, and attended even more. He has his PhD in Bioengineering, an MBA in Organization Leadership, and currently works at Medtronic fixing broken hearts.

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