The Los Angeles Chargers play their final preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night, but before they head north to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, some of the players overcame far more daunting challenges than Jimmy Garoppolo and the Niners.
We’re pretty sure the 49ers — or any NFL team — don’t have Alien Zoo monsters, blue whales or Snake Gods on their starting lineups like the Chargers faced when they were immersed in the virtual reality world of Dreamscape Immersive at Westfield Century City in Los Angeles.
Players Austin Ekeler, Brant Weiss, Michael Davis, Antoine Cason, Larry Allen, Jr. and Larry English, along with president of Business Operations A.G. Spanos, who’s father Dean owns the team, took part in three original VR experiences ahead of the 2019 NFL season kickoff and got far more than they bargained for.
“I was way more scared during that than in a game, you’re just not prepared and don’t know what to expect,” Weiss (above left) told TheWrap afterwards. “I was so impressed because I’ve done the Playstation VR before and that blows it out of the water.
“It really does feel like you’re in that universe. I thought it was a really cool experience,” he added.
Weiss, a 6-foot-6, 236-pound offensive tackle, was still shaking after emerging from the Alien Zoo where they were hunted by a flesh-eating Sicari.
“I was scared for my life when that alien monster came after us! I was holding Larry’s backpack, trying to run away,” he said.
We’re not sure how much help Allen, Jr. would have been, as he admitted that all his football skills were useless once they were suited up in the Dreamscape pod.
“That all went out of the window. It turns into primal instinct. I thought I knew what I was getting into but this was totally different,” he said. “As soon as that giant alien appears … I feel like I was on the set of ‘Ghostbusters.’
“I love immersive, survival games, but something about that was a lot more intense,” the offensive guard added.
A story-based full-roam VR experience, Dreamscape allows up to six people to simultaneously explore a virtual 3D environment as avatars through the use of motion capture and full body mapping.
The company was co-founded by film producer Walter Parkes (“Men in Black,” “Minority Report”), global live events producer Kevin Wall, Caecilia Charbonnier and Sylvain Chagué. Steven Spielberg and Nickelodeon were among the early investors.
In June, Sony and Dreamscape announced that they will be unveiling a “Men in Black” experience later this year. “There’s always been something aspirational about ‘MIB’ — and now we can invite our audience to enter the ‘MIB’ universe and become the iconic agents in ways that are possible only through the magic of VR,” Parkes said. “Our goal at Dreamscape is to combine the emotional power of cinematic storytelling with the epic thrill of amusement park rides — and with ‘MIB: First Assignment,’ you will truly be the hero of the adventure.”
Dreamscape opened a new Dallas location in August and will soon expand to Dubai at the Mall of the Emirates.