Tech giant Google has put out its latest Spotlight Story, and this one uses your gaze and other controls to tell you the easily relatable story of a pig trying to get fit and being guilted into staying on track with some help from you, the viewer. The story is called Piggy, and it centers on a pig in a tracksuit trying to make a positive change in his life, but tempted by a chocolate cake left lying about. As the story wears on, he gradually makes his way to the cake and gravitates around it. Just like a real person falling to temptation, however, he quickly picks himself up and gets back on the straight and narrow when he notices he’s being watched. You can watch the story with or without a VR headset, and can even use 6 degrees of freedom controls, if you happen to have a capable VR device handy.
Skilled pig-watchers who can rotate their device or their head quickly enough will see the pig engage in all sorts of antics. At the start of the story, he runs on set, winded, and doesn’t begin running again until you look at him. Once the cake shows up, seemingly out of thin air just as temptations tend to do in the real world, our porcine pal strives to grab a bite, and resorts to faking innocent with isometric exercise, zooming out of view and sneaking back to the cake, and eventually trying to carry it away. The music, being sung in German to complement the German chocolate cake on show, will stop when the pig is falling off the wagon, and usually resume when he gets back to doing the right thing. If you leave him alone with the cake for a while, he won’t do anything; in the end, he looks you boldly in the eye and makes his intention to indulge very clear, only to have the cake stolen by a passing pig with far less self-control.
The entire story grinds to a halt if the viewer refuses to get involved, unlike previous entries in Google’s Spotlight Stories anthology. While that doesn’t end up meaning much in the end, it is Google’s first experiment in VR-friendly interactive storytelling, and it’s executed fairly well for how much its simple premise limits the possibilities at hand. Going forward, Google is bound to experiment more with the format and capabilities presented by its Spotlight Stories collection, which likely means that more content like this story will be popping up.