Delila’s Gift Shows A Fascinating New Way To Tell Stories In VR

At the beginning of the month Oculus announced it was closing Story Studio, its VR filmmaking division. Following the news I wrote a little about what we’d learned from the studio, and how we could look forward to more invention built on the foundations of its work. Delila’s Gift is a perfect example of what I was talking about.

Developed by Cabbibo and released for free on the HTC Vive, Delila feels a little like Story Studio’s final project, Dear Angelica, with a storybook twist. It tells the tale of the titular sea creature that finds her peaceful existence threatened by the arrival of another entity. It doesn’t last long, maybe taking 10 minutes to read through not including the opening tutorial, but these precious few moments are an eye-opening glimpse into the unique beauty of VR storytelling.

Delila was created in Tilt Brush. Cabbibo assembles scenes with thousands of tiny virtual snowflakes, vibrantly colored and organically swarming into position every time you turn the page. They weave around a blank backdrop, taking form like a flock of birds gliding in unison. When they take shape, a narrator continues to progress through the story, with words appearing for you to read along to.

What I love about Delila is its pace. So many VR experiences risk obscuring their most crucial moments in immersing viewers in 360 environments. Here you have the time to soak in each and every action before moving on to the next. Reach out to touch Delila and the snowflakes will elegantly repel themselves away from you, but hold the trigger down and they’ll catapult themselves to the top of your controller, enthuisastically spinning like your own personal firecracker.

There’s a curious blend of linear storytelling and creative freedom to the project. The narrative itself is sweet in its simplicity, hinting but never preaching with its themes of strangers, friendship and possessiveness.

Delila’s Gift won’t cost you a penny to download and won’t take up a fraction of your evening, but you’ll probably look back on it fondly. Don’t miss out on this one.

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