Marvel is bringing a mixed reality edition of What If…? to the Vision Pro

The Vision Pro is about to get what sounds like an honest-to-goodness mixed reality video experience from Marvel Studios and ILM Immersive, something the platform sorely needs. The companies announced What If…? An Immersive Story, which they say is Disney Plus’ “first-ever” interactive original content. It’ll come exclusively to Apple’s VR headset and use a mixture of augmented and virtual reality.

The hour-long What If…? episode is based on Marvel’s Disney Plus show of the same name. It’s a promising development for starved Vision Pro owners, and not just because it’s far longer than the small library of immersive films Apple has offered to date.

Gimme that time stone.
Image: Marvel / Disney

Marvel says that the experience will let users “visit these strange worlds, not as a Watcher but as an actual participant” and that they’ll be able to interact “with the world around them by using their eyes and hands.” Apparently, part of that interaction means you’ll “learn the mystic arts, and be tasked with harnessing the power of the Infinity Stones.”

That’s cool because, once you’re over the immersive video trick of being able to look around during a video and see stuff happening all around you, the Vision Pro’s library gets old pretty fast. How many times can I watch CG dinosaurs trundle around in the woods before I start wanting something more? The answer, at least for me, is “about two times.”

I do worry that What If…? won’t actually be any more compelling in the end. There’s a curious lack of actor credits in Marvel’s announcement today, so I wonder how much “story” there really is here. And the company’s description of it reminds me a little bit of the 1990s interactive video “games” that companies tried to make happen when the first CD-based consoles emerged, with video of people talking at the camera and players picking options for what to do next.

There’s a chance this is a gimmicky experience in exactly the same way. But the What If…? series has been fun to watch, so hopefully it has more to offer than that or the gee-would-you-look-at-that vibes all of the Vision Pro’s other immersive content gives off. Whether it does or not, the platform has been starved for content, so I suppose I’ll take what I can get. Marvel didn’t say when it’s coming out, only that it will be “released soon.”

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