This year’s Oscar nominations mark an important point for the entire video game industry, but especially for virtual reality gaming. Respawn Entertainment, an American video game development studio responsible for the Call of Duty franchise, has won an Academy Award on Sunday for Best Documentary Short for Colette.
Created as part of the VR game Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, Colette is a short but deep emotional journey of 90-year-old Colette Marin-Catherine, who visits the German concentration camp Mittelbau-Dora where her brother was killed.
Colette is the first film produced by a video-game studio to win an Academy Award. Thanks to The Guardian, you can watch it from start to finish (24 minutes) on YouTube.
The idea for the documentary was born when the team behind Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond was researching the game’s storyline by interviewing veterans from World War II. Their research led them to Colette and a history student named Lucie, who convinced Colette to confront her past after refusing to step foot in Germany for 74 years.
“We originally met Colette while scouting filming locations in France,” recalls the document’s director Anthony Giacchino. “It was imperative that we go beyond the use of archival footage because we’re running out of time to preserve these oral histories. Whether this documentary wins or loses, we’re fortunate to have heard Colette’s story and played a small part in bringing healing to one of the last survivors of the French Resistance and all it stood for.”
Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond was released in December 2020 as an Oculus Rift exclusive, and it made headlines by becoming one of the most expensive games ever released for VR platforms. The game currently has an average review score of 68 out of 100, and it costs $59.99.