Does the success of Le Bureau des Légendes mean TV & VR will be friends after all?
“When you arrive at the hotel be very vigilant,” your boss whispers in your ear. “Check again that you aren’t being followed.”
“Tourists, businessmen, businesswomen, receptionists, concierge and housekeepers – be wary of everyone.”
This week a thrilling new 360° virtual reality experience launched on YouTube, and you don’t even need a headset to watch it.
You’re a spy. You’ve been given your first mission. You must break into a hotel room and bug a computer.
You duck out onto a window ledge to avoid being caught out by a maid, and you feel the adrenalin, the rush, as you make your escape down a plush carpeted stairwell.
It’s a pretty gripping stand-alone piece, but what makes Last Mission Before Departure even more exciting, for fans at least, is the VR experience is a spin-off of hit French TV series, Le Bureau des Légendes.
Le Bureau des Légendes is based on the government spy body the General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI), Julien Denoel, who produced the VR experience, told The Memo.
“People love the TV show, it’s very well written, it’s well shot, it’s very realistic, it’s been acclaimed by the real Bureau, the DGSI,” he added.
“Our experience lets you become the hero of the series.”
Co-founder at Exzeb, Denoel created the VR experience to precede season two of Le Bureau des Légendes, due to air on 9 May.
“It’s been shot in the first person point of view, so you can relate to the character,” said Denoel. “We wanted to give a feeling of immersion, of being on the actual set of the series, with the actual actors.”
In addition to the central mission of the plot, the nature of the 360° filming means that viewers can look in all directions, often spotting surprise elements of the narrative in the background.
“It’s a way of rewarding existing fans and teasing potential new fans,” said Denoel.
The release of Last Mission Before Departure is also Europe’s first, said Denoel. A few months back there was a virtual extension of the TV series Quantico in the US, but most other TV-related experiences, like the Game of Thrones Wall experience are not fully-fledged spin-offs.
“There is no real story, it is not a spin-off,” said Denoel of the Game of Thrones experience. “In our series there is a new narrative, you are given a mission. Ours could be an episode.”
Indeed TV as a whole is on the cusp of a new virtual age, says Denoel.
“We see lots of possibilities for the future, and there will be more and more virtual content that allows you to step inside your favourite TV series.”
Exzeb is already in talk with further TV shows – it looks like virtual TV series could be about to go mainstream.
“If you’re a fan of Breaking Bad imagine being in Walter White’s van, or imagine being in The Big Bang Theory sitting next to Sheldon Cooper,” says Denoel.
Eventually VR could even be strong enough as a medium to support new series launches, said Denoel.
“But I think that will take a bit of time – most people do not have headsets right now, and right now you wouldn’t spend an hour in VR – we try to limit experiences to 6,7,8 minutes.”
“I don’t think one will replace the other, but VR will add a send of immersion to TV. VR and TV complement each other.”
Some people still think TV and VR should treated as very different mediums.
We think the haters can back off: These star-crossed lovers are about to collide.
Watch the subtitled version of the Le Bureau des Légendes virtual reality experience Last Mission Before Departure for free on YouTube… no headset required!