‘The Rope’ is a brand new interactive experience coming to your living room through Sky Live, and dBs Pro has been at the forefront of creating its immersive sound world.
In the last decade, narrative-led video games have changed the perception of the medium, attracting new fans and changing the landscape of interactive storytelling. This shift and the advances in technology have seen the format expand beyond consoles and PC, with platforms like Netflix releasing Black Mirror: Bandersnatch as well as investing in their own games division, hosting interactive films such as Sam Barlow/Half Mermaid’s ‘Immortality’.
Now, a new collaboration between dBs Pro, Charisma, Sky and XR Stories looks to bring an exciting and wholly interactive experience to living rooms around the country.
Commissioned by Sky and XR Stories, ‘The Rope’ is an episodic game inspired by Charisma’s ongoing mission to harness the power of AI to deliver truly interactive experiences. After the successful release of their prototype of this technology in 'The Kraken Wakes' - featuring score and sound design from dBs Pro - ‘The Rope’ is bringing that vision to a brand new audience.
‘The Rope’ pairs Charisma.ai’s conversation engine with Sky Live; a small device that pairs with your Sky TV and brings interactive television to your living room. Featuring a sofa-facing camera with gesture recognition, an internal processor that supports a lightweight version of Unity 3D, plus voice-recognition; Sky Live represents a very real way for audiences to not only interact with a TV show and its characters, but to influence their emotions and the trajectory of the story.
That story sees you play as a diver who has been recruited to uncover the mystery of a recent wreck alongside your diving partner Nisha, with live comms to the surface. Using gestures, you pull yourself through the water, speak with AI characters, and head deeper along the branching guide ropes, and into the branching narrative.
With an original score by Jay Auborn (Creative Director of dBs Pro) and John Matthias, ‘The Rope’ saw eight of our students build the sound world as sound designers, music editors and programming assistants; with dBs graduate Brett Sheriff reprising his role as lead audio programmer.
“The sound design used advanced spatial audio processing and techniques to create a realistic 360° underwater environment,” says Jay Auborn. “Our work for The Kraken Wakes and our recording experiments with hydrophones really helped inform this process as to how the sound is perceived underwater and what happens to spatial cues.”
The project also saw dBs Pro taking advantage of the new Dolby Atmos suite at dBs Bristol, using the innovative space to create the soundscape beds for ‘The Rope’, which were then mixed down into surround and implemented into the experience.
The§ first stage of ‘The Rope’ is now complete and awaiting release, representing the first episode of this experience. Stay tuned to Charisma and Sky for further announcements.