Excurio, French Museum Unveil Life Chronicles VR, Revolutionizing Edutainment

by | Jun 17, 2024

In a vibrant corner of London’s Westfield Stratford mall, a revolutionary attraction promises to transport visitors through the epochs of Earth’s history. Excurio, in collaboration with The Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, has introduced Life Chronicles, the UK’s largest free-roaming virtual reality (VR) experience, encompassing an impressive 1,000 square meters. This 45-minute journey through major geological periods is not merely a visual spectacle but a meticulously designed educational adventure.

Upon entering the Eclipso Centre, the anticipation is palpable. Life Chronicles is crafted to captivate audiences from the outset, offering an immersive journey that begins with the emergence of the earliest life forms, traverses through the age of dinosaurs, and culminates in the rise of humanity. Guided by a virtual narrator, participants are enveloped by stunning 3D visuals and immersive soundscapes, creating the sensation of walking among prehistoric giants. Jean-Luc Martinez, a paleontologist who contributed to the project, succinctly captures the essence of this innovative endeavor: “Our aim was to create an experience that is both educational and awe-inspiring.” His sentiment is evident throughout the meticulously designed VR experience, where every detail, from the flora and fauna to the sounds of different eras, has been crafted to ensure authenticity and engagement.

The collaboration with The Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle was crucial in bringing Life Chronicles to fruition. This partnership ensured that the experience was not only visually stunning but also scientifically accurate. Experts from various scientific disciplines—paleontologists, paleobotanists, evolution specialists, and bioacousticians—worked closely with Excurio. Their collective expertise was integral to the scriptwriting, 3D production, and sound design. Dr. Marie Curie, an evolution specialist involved in the project, remarked, “This project is a testament to the power of interdisciplinary collaboration.” Martin Phillips, CEO of Excurio, underscored the significance of this alliance: “We wanted to ensure that every detail was accurate, from the flora and fauna of different periods to the sounds that would have filled the air.” This commitment to authenticity has paid off, as early reviews suggest that Life Chronicles is set to surpass the success of Excurio’s previous venture, The Horizon of Khufu.

Launched in 2023, The Horizon of Khufu offered a mesmerizing glimpse into ancient Egyptian history and set a high benchmark for VR experiences. Yet, Life Chronicles is poised to elevate the bar even higher. The overwhelmingly positive feedback from Khufu emboldened Excurio to push the boundaries further. “We were overwhelmed by the positive feedback from The Horizon of Khufu and aimed to push the envelope even further with Life Chronicles,” Phillips stated. Life Chronicles is not only engaging but also accessible. Operating weekdays from 11 am to 7 pm and weekends from 9 am to 8 pm, the attraction accommodates a broad audience. Ticket prices are set to suit various demographics, with adults paying £21 (US$27, €25) and discounted rates for under 18s and individuals with disabilities at £18 (US$23, €21.40). “We wanted to make this experience available to as many people as possible,” Phillips added. “Education should be engaging and accessible.”

Beyond its immediate appeal, Life Chronicles represents a significant leap forward in the use of VR for educational purposes. By integrating entertainment with rigorous scientific accuracy, Excurio has set a new standard for museums and educational institutions worldwide. The collaboration with The Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle has not only lent credibility but also enriched the experience with profound educational value. This blend of learning and entertainment could very well transform how educational content is delivered in the future. The success of The Horizon of Khufu laid the groundwork for Life Chronicles, proving that there is a robust market for high-quality, educational VR experiences. The ongoing partnership with The Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle signals Excurio’s dedication to upholding high standards of accuracy and educational worth in their offerings. Phillips hinted at exciting future developments, stating, “We are already in discussions about future projects.” These could potentially delve into other historical periods or even explore entirely different scientific fields, such as astronomy or marine biology.

The increasing popularity of VR experiences like Life Chronicles is likely to inspire other museums and educational institutions to invest in similar technologies. Dr. Curie, reflecting on the immense potential of VR in education, remarked, “The potential for VR in education is immense. We are just scratching the surface of what is possible.” Excurio and The Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle have not only crafted an engaging and educational VR experience with Life Chronicles but have also set the stage for future innovations in the field. As technology continues to advance, the possibilities for immersive, educational experiences are limitless. This pioneering project serves as a beacon, illuminating the path forward for educational entertainment and showcasing the transformative power of virtual reality.