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Hollyoaks launches Innovative Immersive VR Experience as Part of a Women’s Safety Campaign

The Lime Pictures digital team have launched an innovative 360 virtual reality experience in the metaverse to coincide with the powerful Hollyoaks ‘Long Walk Home Episode’.

It allows users to experience the sights and sounds of Hollyoaks character Maxine Minniver on her lone journey back from a night out.

In the interactive short film, set in Hollyoaks village and featuring a voiceover by Nikki Sanderson who plays Maxine in Hollyoaks, we hear her internal narrative as she navigates her way home after a night out.

The conceptual immersive experience was written by the episode’s writer Jayshree Patel. It does not feature an attack and Maxine gets home safely.

Users of the VR experience hear the sounds in different sets as Maxine makes her way to her home from nightclub The Loft.

The interactions she experiences with people along the way highlight the misogynistic and threatening experiences for many women that instil fear and a need to avoid intimidating situations for many people in everyday life.

Jayshree said “The VR experience is an exciting move for Hollyoaks. It allows us to reach a whole new audience who’ll get to experience life through Maxine’s eyes. We’re hoping that people will recognise some of the thought processes that Maxine experiences and appreciate how a journey home can be full of second guessing.”

It was produced by Lime Digital working with ARK immersive to create the innovative 360 view of Hollyoaks village as we’ve never seen it before.

It can be found on platforms including Meta Quest in the VR for Good section which harnesses the unique capabilities of VR to create human-centric stories that promote empathy and empowerment. It also launched in Must-See Immersive Entertainment and can be viewed without a VR headset on Facebook and YouTube.

The programme also aims to highlight the disparities between men and women in the film and TV industry. ‘The Long Walk Home’ episode has been created by an entirely female team, including the writer, director, camera operators, engineers, and crew. The film also aspires to foster more female talent in the space.

Campaigner and content creator Danielle Lucy was a supporting artiste in the VR film.

She said: “Taking part in The Long Walk Home was very important to me, as I don’t think this subject is spoken on enough or taken seriously.

“I wanted to be able to share my own experiences as well as educate my followers, friends and family, on the dangers women and girls face everyday.

“I think because Hollyoaks is such a respected show and how they tackled this issue and how it was filmed; it will make people of all generations and genders, stop and listen.”

A spokesperson for Lime Digital said; “Hollyoaks is renowned for innovation and firsts, particularly in the digital space so we were hugely excited to use this new technology to bring the Hollyoaks Village to life.

“However, what is most exciting is the ability to use this technology in the most meaningful way to visually demonstrate how women feel on their long walks home up and down the country.

“We hope the experience starts important conversations for men and women and makes users think differently about their interactions with others.”

Ark Immersive worked with Lime to drive the virtual reality filming process, providing insight and skills to elevate this immersive experience.

Matt Littler, founder of ARK Immersive, said; “This is a unique partnership with Lime Pictures, and sets ARK Immersive apart as a new type of production house, not only creating high-quality factual content, but also incredible narrative-based pieces too.

“For ARK Immersive, this project shows there is space for more immersive content in the film and TV industry, as our systems enable audiences to go deeper than ever before.”