‘Tara’s Locket’ is a short virtual reality story adventure for 5-7 year olds available on iOS and Android. A new project from product design and innovation studio Big Motive, it was inspired by the landscapes, stories and folklore of Ireland’s dramatic Atlantic coast.
Set in a beautifully illustrated world. This unique virtual reality experience of ‘Tara’s Locket’ allows children to step into the story and meet Tara and her friends. Users can follow the interactive story and help guide Tara through the magical landscape of Urah with goal of reuniting our heroine with her parents.
‘Tara’s Locket’ began as a conversation about children's books and how virtual reality might enhance how stories are told and enjoyed by early learners, enabling children to be transported into the world of the story.
Big Motive’s Managing Director, Damian Cranney says: “We set out on this journey wondering about the opportunities to adapt existing IP for a virtual reality experience. Picture books felt like a super place to explore as we could potentially produce something additive in terms of how readers enjoy stories, while preserving the integrity of the story and the artist’s work.”
To expand the storybook into virtual reality, the team drew on their skills working on mobile experiences for the children’s category as well as working with existing IP for the likes of the BBC and Channel 4.
Tara’s Locket features a hand-illustrated world , a magical counterpoint to 3D modelling and advanced CGI being used in to bring the latest slate of VR game to market.
The app is launching as a Google Cardboard experience. What excites Big Motive about mobile VR technology in general is its affordability and accessibility. “It makes virtual reality completely portable, fun and easy to experience with family,” says Cranney. Tara’s Locket has been designed with this in mind allowing kids to dip in and out of Tara’s world.
Big Motive worked with Priya Mistry who illustrated Tara and her world, and with BAFTA-nominated ‘Lily’s Driftwood Bay’ Scoredraw Music who composed an original score and sound design for Tara’s Locket.
Stephen Shaw, Big Motive’s UX Director comments: “What sets VR apart from any other medium is its ability to transport you to a different place. Our goal with Tara’s Locket was to create an experience for children that lets them feel like they have stepped into the story.”
Damian Cranney adds: “We’re really excited about our venture in VR. There is so much junk out there using every modern technique to hook and bait kids into gorging on rubbish content, we wanted to create something that inspires little learners.”
Tara’s Locket received funding from the Northern Ireland Screen Fund supported by Invest NI. It is available from the App Store on iPhone and Google Play Store for Android (iPhone 5 minimum requirement). Compatible with all headsets including: Google Cardboard, Google Daydream, Homido, FreeFly, VR One, GearVR, Durovis Dive. Tara’s Locket features a kid-friendly interface with no in-app purchases or third-party advertising.