Breaking Bad is now among the movie and TV show properties that are formally getting a virtual reality makeover. Nearly four years after its final episode aired in September 2013, the series' legacy is secure as one of the most acclaimed shows of the new millennium. The story of the transformation of sad-sack, cancer-stricken high school chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) into the cold-blooded meth king of the American Southwest won awards, drew rave reviews, and drew better and better ratings throughout its five-year run on AMC.
One ironic twist of Breaking Bad’s success was that it reached its highest level of popularity just as it was approaching its long-planned conclusion. Since then, Breaking Bad devotees have had to make do with the popular spinoff Better Call Saul, as well as occasional nods back to the original series in other media, such as Cranston’s bit about Walter taking over the DEA on Saturday Night Live last year. Now, another Breaking Bad project is on the way.
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan is working with Sony’s PlayStation division on a “non-game, virtual reality experience” based on Breaking Bad, according to Variety. The project will incorporate “computer graphics,” in a collaboration between Gilligan and Sony’s gaming division.
The genesis of the project, which has few concrete details thus far, came when Sony Interactive Entertainment brought several show-runners of Sony Pictures Television-produced shows to the division’s campus to show them the company’s VR capabilities, Variety says. While the likes of Battlestar Galactica’s Ron Moore and The Blacklist’s David Shore were there, Gilligan, in particular, declared that he was interested in working with the technology.
Can the Breaking Bad VR project be a hit? It is, of course, still early, and we have no idea what form the project will ultimately take, or whether Cranston and the other actors will even participate. It's a good sign that Gilligan is both onboard and enthusiastic, and - much like the Gilligan-created Better Call Saul - the creator remains in charge of the project, rather than handing it off to underlings.
However, the fact remains that the current iteration of VR hasn’t broken through culturally in any major way, with market penetration numbers still very low for the Oculus Rift and its different competitors. If it’s going to break through, established projects are going to have to get onboard, so perhaps Breaking Bad will be VR’s first crossover hit.
There’s no announced release date yet for the Breaking Bad virtual reality project.