Read the description of any game you have ever played. Now ask yourself: "Did you really feel like the hero who saved the world or embarked on an epic quest?" Probably not. Video games are promising something they really can't deliver. But wouldn't it be amazing if they could make you feel like you actually participated in those grand adventures?
Lila replaces lifeless NPCs (Non-Player Characters) with live, professional actors. This approach adds new dimensions to the game experience by allowing the player to have a conversation with the NPC. This innovation creates a sense of presence and connection that immerses you in the experience like nothing you have ever played. It feels real!
Lila (lee-la) offers video game experiences that, up until now, have been the stuff of science fiction. In Lila games, players use their wits and their voices to discover new depths of immersion allowing for unparalleled, authentic gaming experiences.
Sound impossible? We thought so too... at first.
Last fall we launched a prototype to test the public’s response to this innovative approach and the feedback was overwhelming. If you didn’t catch it, here is what the critics are saying:
Sure, the critics’ perspectives matter, but what interests us more is what the average player thinks. Check out an extended look at Aria One:
Recognize these games? We worked on them. Each member on our team has individually dedicated his or her life and career to making games, film, and television. Lila is an ambitious project that represents the culmination of our experience. We are united under one vision: To push interactive entertainment to its absolute limit.
The harsh reality:
There are over 200,000 union actors in America alone and the number of non-union actors is five times this number. Even on a good year, ninety percent of those actors are unemployed and less than two percent make a livable wage. During the pandemic, these numbers shot far lower, and the industry has not recovered.
This has been an insurmountable problem... Until now! Lila connects actors with work using a gig economy model, like Uber. This strategy utilizes a traditionally underutilized work force, out of work actors, as the backbone of a brand new form of entertainment. Actors work independently as much as they want from the comfort of their own homes.
Think of it as Uber for actors.
When we sat down to create Aria One, we blended AAA game design with the powerful experience of dynamic interaction and unparalleled human connection that only a live actor can deliver. The result is a game that blurs the line between game and reality.
Lila games run between 30-45 minutes and are created in a series of 3-5 “episodes,” much like a TV mini-series.
Eventually, we will make many games for this exciting platform, but we will start with Aria One, a sci-fi adventure described best as a cross between Star Trek and Stranger Things.
Aria, an earth-like planet, rich with life and possibility, is humanity's last hope for survival. On its 200-year recolonization journey, Aria One has malfunctioned. Adrift and off-course, the ship is in trouble. Explore the ship, meet the crew and discover the secrets of Aria One.
Awaking alone in your cryopod, you hear ominous rumbles deep in the bowels of the ship. Somewhere in the distance an alarm is blaring. Suddenly, a figure rounds the corner in a hurry, but stops dead in her tracks when she notices you. Through the glass of your cryopod you hear her say, “Thank God you’re alive!” She comes closer, “What’s your name, crewman?”
And so begins your adventure.
Work with Commander Novak to first escape the crypod room and then investigate Section 7. Section 7 is unlike any of the other sections on the ship- according to the ship’s computer, it doesn’t exist!!
Without Commander Novak, you are alone on a ship that might be actively trying to kill you. Work with (and against) the ship’s AI to find the central database and reboot it. A low-level maintenance android named K.L.I.P. might hold the key to unlocking this entire mystery.
The ship is saved! All that is needed is to get to the ship’s main deck, plot a course for Aria One, and get back into Cryosleep. An anomalous reading in the crew quarters is preventing the ship from executing the course... but, it’s probably nothing.
Projects of this magnitude are often complicated to manage but we still want to provide a general plan for the money contributed to Lila. These figures are based on our experience with projects of equal complexity. Please note that development realities require flexibility.
Our current timeline reflects the enormity of work that has already gone into Aria One, the foundational technology, and testing.
In the future, (your generosity will help determine how near this future is), we plan to have a platform where all these games can live in one place. Help us bring this new idea to life!
Uniquely, we only have one stretch goal. Why one stretch goal? Because the more you believe in our vision, the more we can accomplish. If this stretch goal is achieved it will give us the features to become a true Kickstarter success story. We want each of you to join us and stand up for community built innovation!
We call our stretch goal: "The whole enchilada."
The whole enchilada includes:
Support for the latest VR hardware including current and next gen PSVR.
Flat or non-VR version. This isn't just a VR concept, although the technique has the most immediate impact in VR. Imagine a world without dialogue trees! Where you can solve quests in creative ways not just killing 10 rats.
Streaming Features. As you can imagine, Lila games make for compelling twitch content. No stream is alike; both player and actor can become famous!
The Metaverse is here (finally)! There are features we must implement for seamless Metaverse integration.
Develop an App for actors similar to the Uber app. Actors can schedule what times they want to work, sign up for new episodes, and get pinged when a game has begun.
Continue the saga of Aria One with Episodes 4 and 5.
Although the team has over 100 years of collective game development experience, Lila combines technologies in new ways. Any video game veteran will tell you the biggest challenges are those we cannot anticipate.
After spending the past year or more thinking about this, we foresee some areas that will need to be handled with care:
Q: How will you ensure a safe environment for both players and actors?
A: Online games have a reputation for toxic behavior. At Lila, this type of conduct will not be tolerated. Actors have tools to ensure a safe environment for all including, but not limited to, booting toxic players.
Players and actors alike will feel welcomed and supported.
Q: How will you ensure there are enough actors?
A: Hiring your own private actor to hold your hand through an entire video game is prohibitively expensive and not scalable. In response to this challenge, Lila games are short, 30-40 minute games- think of them as the length of a single level of one game, or an episode of a television show. The actor is only needed for a few minutes per game and game start times are staggered so actors can handle up to thirty players in one hour.
Q: Where will you get all the actors?
A: Lila uses a gig economy model, like Uber, to connect actors and players. Actors are not employed by Lila. They work independently and can work as much as they want from the comfort of their own homes.
Q: With so many actors, how can you ensure quality?
A: Each new actor will need to fulfill the necessary training courses (a quick audition, a video, some practical advice, and tools training). This is straightforward, but it will take time to complete. The actor will also need the necessary hardware. This balancing act of timing and planning may potentially create a bottleneck in the infant stages of Lila. We have determined this careful balancing act might make Brian go insane, because he will be handling these logistics. Please send Brian your warmest wishes and pleasant thoughts.
Q: How do you ensure there is a player/actor balance?
A: We must have enough actors to connect to players and vice versa. This will be solved by inviting players and actors in phases to keep wait times down and actors busy. Of course, Kickstarter backers will be at the top of the invite list!
While Lila represents a new blend of technologies, the technologies themselves are well understood by our team.