Step Inside 3 Body Problem’s Gorgeous and Dangerous VR World

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John Bradley and Jess Hong in 3 Body Problem
Image: Netflix

In Netflix’s 3 Body Problem, an important plot point involves characters—including Jess Hong’s Jin and John Bradley’s Jack—playing an unsettlingly detailed VR game, where they’re tasked with (among other things) solving the very problem that gives the show its title. Bringing that surreal and vivid setting to life posed unique challenges for the show’s creators.

A new video released by Netflix offers a peek inside how 3 Body Problem’s VR world—accessed in the show via a mysterious metallic helmet—was created, featuring insights from executive producers and showrunners D.B. Weiss, David Benioff, and Alexander Woo, as well as other members of the crew and cast.

An Inside Look into the VR World of 3 Body Problem | Netflix

“The VR headset is an experience no one on Earth has ever had before,” Weiss explains. “All of it, though, has to feel real,” Benioff adds, as the clip showcases the various places and time periods 3 Body Problem visits in the VR game (the Shang Dynasty, Tudor England… even Kubla Khan’s Xanadu). It was fun, especially for the actors and the show’s costume designer, though it took careful planning to get it right.

“One of the big challenges was grounding all of the disparate visual strands of the show,” Weiss says. “There’s a historical element to the show. It needs to feel like you’re watching history, not like you’re watching television.” But in 3 Body Problem’s narrative, that recreation of history comes wrapped in technology far advanced beyond what humanity is capable of in 2024. Netflix’s video showcases the real-world technology that went into making that far-flung tech feel both awe-inspiring and realistic, including the process of creating the VR world’s backgrounds and CG effects, and episode three’s memorable antigravity sequence.

3 Body Problem’s eight episodes are now streaming on Netflix.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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