Walking the Walk
September 9, 2015

Walking the Walk

Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (SCEA), Sony Pictures Entertainment, and IMAX Corporation recently teamed up to deliver “Can You Walk the Walk?” – a virtual reality (VR) experience that puts you right out onto a high-wire walk between the towers of the World Trade Center in 1974.

The demo drew quite a bit of attention at SIGGRAPH 2015, where attendees could try it out in the VR Village. It will be presented on “Project Morpheus” (Morpheus) – a VR system developed by Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCE) that takes the PlayStation 4 (PS4) system to new levels of immersion and demonstrates the future of gaming.

Morpheus enables players to experience a sense of presence, where they feel as though they are inside the virtual world of a game, through high resolution visuals, advanced tracking, 3D audio technology, and the power of PS4. This unique VR system has been met with huge interest and industry enthusiasm since the unveiling of Morpheus in March 2014. Featuring a 5.7-inch 1920 x RGB x 1080-resolution OLED display, 120 fps output, nine LEDs for accurate positional tracking with PlayStation Camera, and a user-friendly design, Morpheus is set to launch as a consumer product in the first half of 2016.

In “Can You Walk the Walk,” Morpheus users can experience for themselves what it was like to balance in the immense void between the World Trade Center towers, the feat dramatized in the upcoming film The Walk. In the film, Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), guided by his real-life mentor, Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley), is aided by an unlikely band of international recruits, who overcome long odds, betrayals, dissension, and countless close calls to conceive and execute their mad plan. 

Academy Award-winner Robert Zemeckis, the master director of such marvels as Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Back to the Future, Polar Express , and Flight, again uses cutting-edge technology in the service of an emotional, character-driven story. With innovative, photorealistic techniques and IMAX 3D wizardry, The Walk is genuine big-screen cinema, a chance for moviegoers to viscerally experience the feeling of reaching the clouds. Already honored as the opening night of the New York Film Festival, The Walk is a love letter to Paris and New York City in the 1970s, but most of all, to the Towers of the World Trade Center.

“Can You Walk the Walk” invites users to try Petit’s walk for themselves – stepping out onto the wire to make Petit’s historic pass between the towers. Petit trained for years to make his “coup” possible; only in virtual reality is such a feat possible for the rest of us.

Sony Pictures commissioned the team at Culver City-based Create Advertising Group to develop and deliver the “Can You Walk The Walk” VR experience.

Commenting on the announcement, Dwight Caines, president, Theatrical Marketing, said, “‘Can You Walk the Walk’ is a thrilling experience. With Morpheus, now ordinary people can see what it is like to walk between the 140 feet between the World Trade Centers, over 1,300 feet up in the air. It’s one thing to imagine stepping onto that thin wire and quite another when that’s your entire frame of reference, as only VR can show. ‘Can You Walk the Walk’ gives a first-person look at something only one person has ever or will ever see, and it gives another layer of meaning to the motion picture experience that Robert Zemeckis is creating.”

“We’ve been thrilled with the reception Project Morpheus has received within the gaming community, and we look forward to giving a broader audience a chance to experience virtual reality from PlayStation,” said Phil Rosenberg, senior vice president, business development and publisher relations, SCEA. “VR is a powerful new medium, and ‘Can You Walk the Walk?’ demonstrates the potential for this exciting technology outside of gaming.”

“Not only is The Walk the crowning achievement of a master filmmaker, it is a once-in-a-lifetime motion picture experience, unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. That’s why we jumped at the chance to be a part of this campaign,” said Greg Foster, Senior Executive Vice President of IMAX Corp. and CEO of IMAX Entertainment. “IMAX is thrilled to be teaming up with Bob Zemeckis and our partners at Sony Pictures on ‘Can You Walk the Walk?’ as we support the delivery of this innovative virtual reality experience to a select audience.”