While most of Hollywood and its celebrity class are enthralled by virtual reality, a new augmented reality experience featuring some of the music and film world's top talent is preparing for virtual liftoff.
Masters of the Sun is a graphic novel that was released this summer and will debut as a new AR experience later this week for iOS and Android devices. Produced by pop music group The Black Eyed Peas, the project features the voice acting work of film stars Jamie Foxx, Rosario Dawson, Michael Rapaport, and Jaden Smith, Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, and R&B and hip-hop icons including Snoop Dog, Common, Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Rakim, and KRS-One.
Although marrying the world of print publishing and AR is on the rise in publishing circles, this appears to be one of the first that packs so much star power into a project solely dedicated to immersive content.
There will also be a VR version of the title released in 2018 in partnership with Facebook's Oculus team.
Published by Marvel Comics, the graphic novel tells the tale of a group of Los Angeles community members who fight an alien god with the power to turn humans into zombie-like creatures. Marvel comics has been working on AR tie-ins for its comic book titles for several years, but now that companies like Apple (via ARKit) and Google (via ARCore) are focused on the AR, Marvel's efforts may finally begin to bear fruit as the platform begins to move into the mainstream.
This is the first foray into AR for The Black Eyed Peas, but this isn't the first time its frontman, Will.i.am, has tried his hand popularizing an emerging technology. In recent years, he's released his own smartwatch, as well as a pair of Bluetooth earphones in collaboration with a member of the Kardashian clan (Kendall Jenner).
None those tech products were as successful as any of his music ventures, however, by launching with so many celebrity names involved, this AR project will at least signal to others in the entertainment community that it's time to begin paying much closer attention too what's possible in AR.
The iOS and Android versions of the AR app will officially launch on November 24.