Breathe In

Michael Weber

"Breathe In" is an interactive story in virtual reality, telling the tale of a young man who learns to breathe underwater. As part of my ITP thesis, I explored how to tell a compelling story in VR that could elicit emotions powerful enough to bring back into the real world.


“Breathe In” takes the principles of storytelling and adapts them to VR, exploring whether narnrative’s ability to create emotional response can be magnified through a more immersive medium. Personal experience generates the strongest emotions, and VR may possess the power to tell stories that offer something closer to personal experience.

The story centers around Alex, a new father grappling with boredom. When he learns he can breathe underwater, he begins secretly escaping into an underwater world for longer and longer. On the night of his daughter’s first birthday, he makes a choice with tragic consequences.

My goal is for viewers to feel as if they themselves experienced Alex’s story, and to interpret and internalize his fate.