Way to Go
Way to Go is an interactive narrative experience where the user has control of the camera positioning, movement of the main character, and ability to change and interact with the environment. The experience was made in 2014 by AATOAA, directed by Vincent Morisset and produced through National Film Board of Canada. AATOAA is a creative studio that focuses on creating interactive web experiences that fully immerse the user and push the boundaries of interaction. Way to Go takes this to the next level by placing the user in ever-changing 360° degrees world that can be controlled using a VR headset or a web browser.
Way to Go begins by placing the user in a nondescript black and white forest with the ability to look 360° degrees around using the mouse. A 2d animated character follows the users gaze and seems to move for the user. Your animated avatar is extremely responsive and takes on human qualities as you spend more time with it. On click the figure will look closer at the environment causing a video to play focusing on a minute part of nature. On using keyboard commands the user moves forward in a run or a walk. The camera’s viewpoint stays static over the head of an all black non animated figure. Lying ahead of the user is a single path marked in white leading deeper into the woods. The experience then takes off as you use the keyboard to explore. The trees fly by, tones rush into your ears, and creating the sense that you are moving at great speed for some purpose. Past streams, up hills and into valleys your avatar rushes ahead and dives into a river. You gaze in the water to see your animated character staring back at you with technicolor waves revealing themselves for the first time.
Climbing out of the water you find yourself in a bare colorful 3d represented world that mimics the landscape of the forest. As you click your character leaves chalk outlines behind it as you sore through the environment. You meet more silent black box headed characters you explore fields and hills; switching from the black and white real world into the colored 3d one. The worlds start to blur together and shift as you feel yourself get pulled deeper and deeper into this world. Faster, faster, and even faster till nothing. The path ends with a question marked by “The End?”. The experience then “ends” in one sense but you are free to explore now off of the path. Flying over mountains, running under northern lights, you are now loose in a world that never seems to end the music pushing you further and further forward at incredible speeds.
Way to Go is a unique and innovative experience that fully engaging the user in a feeling of curiosity. Each change and interaction adds to the addiction of finding out what it all means, why the world is changing, and where one is going. It plays to a sense of wonder of the unknown that we all feel in life in our careers, interactions, and experiences. The beauty of nature and its overwhelming mystery all influence the experience’s power and speaks to the primeval instinct of exploration. Exploration is always new, always going forward never back. It is not surprising that in this experience like life there is no way to step backward only forge ahead.