Sony Ericsson launched its new phone-cum-game console gizmo Xperia Play last night, with an immersive warehouse experience intended to feel like walking into a series of high action games.
The enchanted gaming world, designed by Iris Experience, included a large scale set complete with burnt out helicopters, Chinese noodle bars, racing cars and, naturally, a tree full of action men.
Iris head of production Richard King says, ‘The brief was simply to launch the Xperia Play, but we knew we had to do something knock-out as it was an epic launch – the first time anyone has released a mobile with Certified PlayStation technology.’
Iris came up with the idea of taking guests ‘in-game’ hence the helicopters, racing cars and powerful lighting. King says, ‘The gaming world is now so advanced and wonderfully cinematic, being a player transports you on several journeys and quests.’
When entering the space, guests were led through a dark, industrial space. King says, ‘It was vital that we took people into the experience at a steady pace otherwise the transition from the “actual world” into “in game” becomes a shock to the system. The tempo of people movement through the space is of major importance.’
The project was a three day build with nearly 20 crew members. It took almost four weeks for Iris to source all the props from around some strange markets, prop shops and reclaimers in London.
King says, ’We designed the space with three layers in mind, environmental landscaping, feature moments, and props to enrich. We wanted to start by creating a forest which lived on three floating islands, made from staging and covered in blue Astroturf, this set the scene for the feature pieces to live within, this then enabled us to demo Xperia Play whilst in situ.’
He adds, ‘We wanted the space to have a heart beat and come to life so we decided that the best way to do this would be to map projection over the set, the trees would grow and shed their leaves and the space had a Narnia feel to it when we added low level dry ice that guests walked through.’
Sound lighting and a number of screens were also used to complete the in-game look. King says, ‘The final projection helped us deliver against the idea of being transported “in game”. We filmed a selection of models looking straight into camera the applied effects. When these were projected it gave the impression that the “real world” was looking in.’