Virtual sidekick: Second-person POV in narrative VR | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1759-7137
  • E-ISSN: 1759-7145



Today’s virtual reality (VR) restricts the screenwriter with its technological shortcomings, and there is little agreement on how stories should be told in the new format. While its immersivity heightens the audience’s sense of presence, and perhaps accentuates empathy, it draws attention away from plot and information, favouring mood and emotion. While the narrative VR of the mid-2010s favoured first-person point-of-view (POV) protagonists, what we must consider is how, as technological advances grant audiences ever-greater agency, traditional storytelling collapses when said audiences can take autonomous action and affect the plot. A disembodied third-person POV, as in regular cinema, is also unlikely to satisfy audiences. This paper argues that second-person POV, where the viewer is the protagonist’s sidekick, is the device that will allow future VR audiences to fully immerse and interact without giving up our perennial pleasures of plot, character arc and leaning back while others do the work. In the 2020s, narrative VR’s economies of production are also likely, through an uberization of filmmaking, to dramatically change the industry and the role of the screenwriter.


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