When History and Mythology meet
Over the course of the summer ÍTACA and THE WALKING NERDS responded jointly to a tender put forward by the Palais des Rois de Majorque in Perpignan (France).
The Palais is a splendid fortress dating back to the XIIIth century, but it has an odd history. Although it presides over the French city of Perpignan, it bears the name of the Spanish island of Mallorca. The Palais’ function has evolved throughout the ages.
The client’s brief was ambitious: “a dreamlike immersive evocation of the Palace’s lost gardens”. Beyond the fact we needed to recreate a place that doesn’t exist, we also needed to explain to the spectator the changing role of a medieval garden.
In essence, the challenge was the following: How can we be factual and romantic at the same time? How can we be both in history and in mythology?
Our answer was simple: story, story, story. It’s quite simple: only a story can bring information and emotion. Beyond an immersion with no beginning or end, where the spectator could float around the room, our proposition had a script with an actual narrative arch, it could thus be watched like an actual film.
Beyond a story, we needed to see how this would play out in a 3D, immersive and multi-screen setting. In order to answer with a strong 3D propositions, we called our good partners over at The Walking Nerds, a digital/3D agency based in Paris.
Their extensive experience in the use of the Unity game engine was a key factor. Through Unity, we would create dynamic setting and backgrounds, where 2D drawn and animated characters would live and play out the story.
Emma Besançon, Artistic Director for The Walking Nerds found great inspiration in existing medieval drawing and illustrations:
“Medieval artist displayed a lot of fantasy and inspiration; they had no problems taking liberties with reality. A knight’s head is easily turned turned into a snail or a rabbit, unknown animals suddenly appear in the margins, it’s just a lot of fun”
She sought inspirations from two major medieval books: the Libro de Juegos, an incredible Spanish compendium, and the quintessential Les très riches heures du Duc de Berry.
One last challenge: the film would be projected in the palace’s old stables. An actual physical room with four rooms, four columns, holes in the wall, a floor. Just so many “screens” where the story could play out.
Alessandro Pugno, Creative Director at Itaca, was clear: “we need to use every single surface”. And so we did.
Alexis Delamare, CTO for The Walking Nerds said:
“Outside of video games, Unity is many used for simulation or training. It was an excellent challenge bringing innovation for the purpose of storytelling with ÍTACA”.
What did you think of this project? Do you have one in mind?
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The Walking Nerds is our digital partner. This is their website.
You can visit the Palais des Rois de Majorque in Perpignan.