Each of the following chapters will take place in a slightly different location, conveying the distance covered and diversity of landscapes across Antarctica. Reusing many of the same elements across all five chapters (characters, snow, ice, wind dynamics, clothing, tools, tents etc.) will lead to some economies of scale, whilst ensuring a rich and dynamic experience for the user.
Within each chapter, smaller stages [A,B,C] will be articulated by shifts in the weather, changes to the time-of-day or teleporting of the user to a different zone within the experience. In the examples below, excerpts from Scott’s diary have been included to help tell the story stage-by-stage. In reality, much more of the diary will be used than is shown here. Each chapter is estimated to last 8-10 minutes.
The experience opens in a stunning Antarctic vista. Ahead of us, the TERRA NOVA (the ship that carried Scott and his team to the South pole) is trapped in the frozen sea. On-screen graphics introduce the mission, providing important historical context and details of the scientific imperatives, the key party members and the journey by sea to reach the Antarctic continent.
A | At the start of Chapter 1, we see five characters striding away from base camp in clear weather conditions. Four of the men are ahead of us, pulling sleds in convoy. The fifth man, Scott, is by our side. He adjusts his primitive goggles to shield his eyes, as our camera position pushes in extremely close and then gradually slips from 3rd person to his POV. Now, as Scott, we must use our hands to plant ski poles and move forward in the crisp snow. Scott’s VO begins:
B | After a set period of time, our actions trigger a transition to the next stage and we are offered the opportunity to teleport deeper into the journey. Some miles across the ice-field now. Ahead of us, Wilson and Evans have stopped walking and are taking measurements with an array of tools. Scott explains:
We can use our controllers to observe some of the tools and read some of the measurements being taken. Eventually our actions trigger another transition.
C | We teleport ahead in the journey and the weather conditions begin to change. A blizzard is closing in. As the storm becomes more intense and visibility is reduced to almost zero, the experience becomes increasingly disorientating and the user is required to locate their colleagues in the whiteout. Scott’s VO continues:
Having found the other men, we may move around them as they struggle to erect the tent. We can also use our hands to hammer in the pegs. The chapter ends once all the men are inside the tents.
A | The next chapter begins with five men around a camp fire, each with a different task (cooking dinner, packing down tents, taking scientific measurements, writing journals). Scott laments:
Eventually the VO ends and the men move out of camp. Our actions in joining them trigger a transition to the next stage.
B | We join the men striding - with less momentum now - across the frozen plain. Ahead, the fifth man is stationary, surveying the horizon through a pair of binoculars. We must catch up to him and use our controllers to look through the binoculars when he hands them over. Scott narrates:
C | Teleporting again, we travel to the South pole, to see where Amundsen and his party have claimed the prize. The British team look devastated, heartbroken. Bowers is attempting to gather us all, reluctantly, for a photograph.
Eventually, the men disperse back to their sledges, which they turn through 180 degrees and head back in the direction from which they have clearly come. As they turn away, the user must walk with them, triggering the end of the chapter.
A | The next chapter begins with the five men labouring across the frozen plain in familiar formation. Bowers is pulling a single sled, Wilson and Oates are walking alongside and Evans is lying across the sled. Scott describes how low spirits have sunk:
We notice now that our movements through the snow have become more difficult than in the opening chapter. Movement of our controllers are becoming less responsive Eventually our actions trigger a transition to the next stage.
B | Bowers stops the sled and, despite the cold and their frostbitten hands, the men begin taking scientific readings - distance, pressure, temperature, elevation etc. Scott’s VO explains the process:
As Wilson and Oates take readings, user can try to measure temperature using controllers and follow some of the other men’s measurements. After a short while, our actions trigger a transition and a snow storm closes in.
C | Teleporting out of the gathering storm, we find ourselves in the shelter of a nearby mountain. As the men hammer rock samples out of the cliff face, we can move around to inspect their findings. In them, we can clearly see plant fossil impressions.
This discovery is of huge significance and later in the experience we’ll come to understand how it helped prove Continental Drift Theory. We end this chapter poring over the rock specimens and pages of data recordings. Eventually our actions trigger the end of the chapter.
A | At the start of the experience, we are one of four characters striding across a frozen plain, which is uneven and tough to navigate. Our movements are slow and heavy. The equipment is damaged. The men ahead of us have turned and are running back to the rear of the convoy, which triggers us to turn around. Scott begins:
After walking back to meet Evans, we assess his condition as Scott’s VO describes his final hours before death. Eventually Evans fades away and we are offered the opportunity to teleport to the next stage, leaving behind a cairn marking Evans’ grave.
B | Night time now as the four men (including user) huddle inside a tent. Scott narrates:
The other men shiver, looking hungry and exhausted. Wilson is handing out tiny portions for dinner. Bowers is struggling dress Oates’ feet, which are in very bad shape. Eventually the men get into their sleeping bags and we, the user, are required to shut down the burner, triggering the next transition.
C | The sun rises to a heavy blizzard blowing outside. As Wilson and Bowers are preparing for the day’s hike, Oates looks defeated. Eventually, he turns to us, the user, and says:
With a final pat on the shoulder, he struggles to his feet and out into the cold. As he leaves, the user can choose whether to stick their head out and watch him disappear into the blizzard, or stay and contemplate his certain fate and the dignity of his actions. Scott’s VO takes us to the end of the chapter:
A | The chapter begins inside the tent, Wilson to our left, Bowers to our right. They look weak, weary and are both writing letters and diary entries. Scott’s VO frames the situation:
We hear echoes of the other men’s words - writing letters to family, friends and recording final diary entries.
One by one, the other men fade away and we, (Scott) are left to contemplate the loneliness of the situation.
C | Eventually we move outside the FIRST-PERSON perspective - no longer experiencing the scene through Scott’s eyes. We now float alongside him as he adds his final diary entry, closes the small book and lies down alongside his companions to await his own death. We slowly drift outside the tent now, leaving the bodies of Scott, Wilson and Bowers behind. Outside, a storm continues to rage and snow envelops the tent. The hopelessness of their situation is now abundantly clear.
As the storm settles around the tent, we continue to drift slowly away, past the sleds containing SCIENTIFIC EQUIPMENT and the SAMPLES collected throughout the mission. ON-SCREEN GRAPHICS call-out some of the remarkable statistical information about the Terra Nova mission and the importance of the samples collected by Scott and his men to scientific research. Then, to demonstrate the realities of global warming in the century since their death, the environment around us will ramp into hyper-lapse, burying the tent beneath 20 meters of snow. Eventually, the entire ice shelf shifts and starts to break apart as we fade to white.