While the BBC is respected for its varied slate of programming, its nature documentaries are deservedly elevated above the rest. The corporation's second Planet Earth series recently broke viewing records in the UK and will debut in the US, but it's also been working on a new project that will bring its nature expertise to virtual reality. BBC Earth, the producer behind the groundbreaking footage, has announced a new partnership with Oculus to launch three new VR experiences, which will be available for the Rift and Samsung's Gear VR headsets in the coming weeks.
Viewers will be able to interact with three individual episodes that chart the "daily adventures" of a Caracal Cat, an Oogpister Beetle and Black Bears. Cat Flight will demonstrate how the feline predator survives in the wild, focusing on its explosive leap. The BBC says it will freeze the Caracal mid-jump, allowing viewers to zoom in and interact with the animal in 360 degrees.
The second episode, Oogie, is a computer-generated game that is based on footage of the Oogpister Beetle "as it scurries through the African Savannah." Players will assume the role of the beetle, guiding it to safety by navigating obstacles and avoiding predators.
The final experience, Bear Island, follows Black Bears on their journey to an Alaskan river. Viewers will be able to jump between different perspectives and varying storylines, with virtual reality helping to make it feel like they're really there. The BBC says the episodes will be available before the end of January and will be free to download for the first three months.