Metaverse experiences don’t always have to be huge community-spanning affairs or ways for fans to engage more deeply with their beloved IPs. Outside of Web3, we’ve already seen the idea of using VR to craft deeply personal experiences for users.
Let’s start with how this idea is approached in popular culture. In the opening minutes of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, viewers were treated to yet another cutting-edge technological development from fictional futurist Tony Stark: BARF.
In the film, the technology enabled its users to virtually relive their memories in vivid detail. Of course, included in that package is the perhaps bittersweet possibility for users to speak with their loved ones long after their passing.
But how close are we to realizing such marvelous technology? Closer than you might imagine. It might even help users process trauma and loss, just as Stark put it in the 2016 film. In 2020, a story went viral of a South Korean mother gaining the chance to speak with her deceased daughter, one last time, thanks to virtual reality. And, with the upcoming launch of Reflect, a game developed specifically for the Mirror Image One — reportedly a “next-gen cloud-based Web3 gaming console” included with each game purchase — we might see this technology become available for a small section of the public very soon.
Building your memory
Reportedly, Reflect will allow users to relive specific moments in their lives in the metaverse game. For a price, of course — and it won’t be cheap. Starting at 1 ETH, or a little more than $1,600 as of writing, users can have one of their memories minted onto the blockchain, allowing them to relive those moments of their life in the game. Prices differ depending on the age of the memory. However, minting a memory into an NFT at the standard tier for 1 ETH will enable users to mint memories only as far back as 2010. Prices increase by 1 ETH for each additional decade of a memory’s age, with the Reflect team offering users the ability to mint “any” of their memories for 4 ETH.
So what goes into minting a memory? Of course, this won’t be some magical, instantaneous process. Building out each memory into a metaverse experience will require a lot of work on both the user’s and the developer’s end. Upon purchasing the rights to mint one of their memories, users have to work with the Reflect team at Mirror Image Studios in an advisory capacity to bring their memory to full virtual life.
This starts with submitting any relevant media that could help them piece the memory together, which includes photos, videos, sound recordings, and a written description of the memory at least 300 characters in length. Aside from that, users will also need to arrange to meet with the Reflect team, for a more in-depth discussion of the memory. All of this is necessary for the team to build an accurate and faithful rendition of the user’s memory into the game.
A metaverse of memories
Beyond these details, there is sparse information on Reflect’s website about how Mirror Image Studios plans to approach developing minted memories. It also remains unclear what these little slices of the metaverse will look like, save that the game worlds will reportedly be built using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5. So what are users expected to do with these personal pieces of the metaverse once completed?
Play out these experiences, for starters. Much like Life is Strange, the Reflect team hopes to provide users with branching experiences, enabling them to do things differently a second time around on the metaverse — one of their many lofty development goals, reminiscent of how No Man’s Sky was promoted leading up to its 2016 launch.
Aside from that, the Reflect team promises that their memories will live on in an interconnected metaverse world, complete with what they call “advanced NPCs.” This interconnected world represents Reflects eventual end goal for the project; to create a living, breathing virtual world drawing from the collective memories of its users for inspiration. We’ll definitely pay close attention to this project to see if they’ll be able to live up to the grand expectations the firm has placed upon itself with this game’s announcement.