Harlan Ellison, the writer of Life Hutch and a great visionary of the science fiction world, passed away recently leaving a legacy of books, short stories, and scripts filled with his thought-provoking and sometimes radical ideas. It was a sad day for the Life Hutch VR team, as we have been actively working to produce the virtual reality version of this story over the last year. We did not have the chance to meet Mr. Ellison, but spent the last two years reading and rereading his work to gain insights into his thought process, attempting to understand the incredible world he created. It is a testament to his work that Life Hutch feels as fresh and relevant now as it did when he wrote it in 1956.
Adapting his gripping story for the headset has been an opportunity to “get into his head” and make the story come to life in a way that has never been possible, and although we have added some new story elements, we have kept very true to the dramatic structure and overall vision Mr. Ellison put down on paper over fifty years ago. Life Hutch is a story told from the perspective of a lone man striving to survive against incredible hardship. We chose the story for this very reason. It was “immersive” long before that term was used for media and it couldn’t be more suited for VR. The goal of the entire team of concept designers, software developers, composers, writers, and sound designers has been to put the viewer into the mind and body of the main character Captain Terrence, allowing the viewer to truly feel his struggles, his pains, and his triumphs.
If we have one regret, it is that we were never able to show Mr. Ellison what we have done with his story and how we have brought it to life. I can only hope that it would have made him proud.