The bunny gets the pancake, the kitty gets the milkshake — and Ralph gets his comeuppance.
At least, he does in Ralph Breaks VR, the upcoming virtual-reality experience from The VOID and ILMxLAB that takes guests into the world of Wreck-It Ralph’s sequel, in which Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) travel into the internet for a series of new adventures. The VOID and ILMxLAB last developed Secrets of the Empire, a Star Wars story, and this experience, based on Ralph Breaks the Internet, aims to immerse guests into the same hyper-realistic environment.
EW recently got a chance to tour the experience and can exclusively reveal some of the graphics (above and below), as well as the gameplay. In Ralph Breaks VR, up to four guests at a time choose avatars, meet Ralph — all 9 feet, 693 pounds of him — and Vanellope, and get whisked away into the colorful, Easter-egg-blanketed depths of the web to unlock (via a nifty whack-a-mole-like game that familiarizes players with working inside the VR space) and play Ralph’s favorite online game.
Spoiler alert: The game’s nothing like Fix It Felix Jr. — think instead of a cross between Space Invaders and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (the two-person shooter at the Disney parks). Guests pair off to play and gain points, which are tallied on a useful scoreboard players can virtually monitor on their left wrist. “One of the things we really wanted [to do] was to bring back that nostalgic vibe you get from Ralph, and to be able to throw that into this very modern, technological environment,” Curtis Hickman, The VOID’s chief creative officer and co-founder, tells EW. “That’s where the heart of the experience was, to bring back the retro feel.” Adds Pamela Ribon, the writer of Ralph Breaks VR (and co-writer of Ralph Breaks the Internet): “It’s very Ralph’s taste.”
As for Bunny and Kitty’s involvement in all this? Well, the game breaks — Ralph’s there, after all — and guests end up having to save Ralph while in the middle of a chaotic food fight against the critters of Pancake Milkshake, the game Ralph wrecked back in the first teaser trailer. The experience provides props that serve as pancake and milkshake launchers, which players fire against Bunny and Kitty. (Don’t feel bad, the bunnies and kitties fire back.) Pro tip, courtesy of Jose Perez III, the lead experience designer at ILMxLAB, a division of Lucasfilm: The milkshake gun has “splash damage,” allowing it to damage things around its target site, and if players fire a pancake to the bunny (or a milkshake to a kitty), they’ll earn more points.
Sure, it’s silly to get into a food fight against bunnies and kitties while Ralph is trapped among wires (see image above), but that’s the point, Perez says. “We wanted to make it Pancake Milkshake Extreme,” he jokes, laughing. “The whole idea was to make this a fun romp, to make something lighthearted and fun and goofy, that could appeal to a little bit of a younger audience as well as an older audience.”
Besides, guests don’t really have to worry about playing and gaining points if they’re not into it. The experience is enough of a sensory feast, even for non-gamers, thanks to its immaculate rendering of Ralph Breaks the Internet’s, well, version of the internet. Guests can — and should — crane their necks to observe every nook and cranny in Ralph Breaks VR’s translation of the film’s graphics: When the train they ride passes through a security screen, the VR vests respond with a quick shake. When Ralph beckons guests onto a balcony to take a look over the “internet,” guests can feel the wind from their perch high above the area. And when the bunnies and kitties hit their targets — as in, the players — the VR vests vibrate.
“That is the most surreal moment for me [while in the experience],” Ribon marvels. “Like, I am in the movie.”
Ralph Breaks VR can be experienced at The Void starting Nov. 21, the day Ralph Breaks the Internet hits theaters.