Google releases gorgeous VR short film 'Age of Sail'

The 12-minute short is worth your time, even without a virtual reality headset.

Google Spotlight Stories has released its latest short, Age of Sail. Directed by Academy Award winner John Kahrs (Disney's Paperman short), it blends beautiful animation with the story of an old, lonely sailor, played by Ian McShane, who is adrift in the Atlantic Ocean in 1900. When he rescues a young woman (Cathy Ang), who fell overboard from a passing ship, his outlook changes to one of hope.

It's the first Google Spotlight Stories short to include dialogue, and, clocking in at 12 minutes, it's the longest one to date. Age of Sail was an official selection at this year's Venice Film Festival, and it also qualifies for the best animated short film Oscar.

Kahrs and his team had to bear in mind that setting a VR film on the open sea, with a boat rolling on waves, could cause viewers motion sickness. They simplified the look of the sky and ocean, and made sure you're able to focus on the horizon to minimize the feeling of seasickness.

Age of Sail is available in the Google Spotlight Stories iOS and Android app, Viveport and Steam. If you don't have a way to watch it in VR, Google also released a theatrical version, which you can watch below.