The future of storytelling

L&S_Tech and Storytelling_preview

How technology changes the way stories are told

By Katie Czenczek, Staff Writer


The world of Ready Player One may come sooner than anticipated in Ernest Cline’s novel—well, some of the technology depicted in the novel at least.

Although augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have been in the works for many years now, it appears as if 2018 will be the year that more of these systems become available to the general public. This may excite some while leaving others worrying that our world is one step closer to living in a Black Mirror episode.  As both a writer and an avid consumer of entertainment, I look forward to seeing how content creators use the available technology to change the way stories are told.

In particular, I am eager to see how these technological advances will make stories more interactive.

Historically, storytelling has been a passive experience. Sure, there have been exceptions such as interactive theatre and art shows, choose your own adventure novels, and—to a certain extent—traditional video games; augmented and virtual reality are able to bring the previously passive viewers into the very stories they cherish and love. This is exactly why improved technology is exciting for storytelling; it allows for content creators to tell stories in ways that were not previously available to them. Could you imagine if you were able to explore the setting of your favourite novel all around you while reading the book?

Just think about how the printing press changed the game for writers and readers alike. With that simple but effective technological advancement, books could be published significantly faster and became that much more accessible to the public. I hope that the same will happen with the proposed VR and AR products set to launch this year.

Technology that isn’t advanced enough to portray the artist’s vision can stifle creativity. George Lucas had to wait until special effects and CGI were advanced enough in order to create the full-fledged space scenes he envisioned for the first episodes in Star Wars, which is why he began the original trilogy with Episode IV: A New Hope. That is why technological advancements such as Oculus Go, Magic Leaps Lightwear Glasses, Pimax 8K VR Glasses and many other similar products to be released this year will eventually lead to more stories that have yet to be explored in such an interactive way.

As developers continue to improve their machines the way that the gaming industry has rapidly seen improvements in graphics and playability, the more detailed and immersive VR and AR games will be. Let’s just hope that these products don’t fail before people are even able to create games for them the way Google Glass failed several years ago.