Member Press Releases

David Attenborough’s First Life – Available November 23rd 2021 exclusively on Oculus TV

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Press Team

24 Nov 2021 | 4 min read

For the first time using Virtual Reality, travel billions of years back in time and witness the origin of life on earth with David Attenborough. Produced by Alchemy Immersive and Meta Quest.

London, 23rd November 2021
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In more than 60 years of broadcasting, David Attenborough has travelled the globe to document the living world in all its wonder. Now, with Alchemy Immersive and Meta, he travels back in time using Virtual Reality to bring to life long-extinct fossils that unlock the secrets of what the very first animals on our planet were like, how they moved and how they thrived.

At a quality unprecedented for immersive media, journey back over 350 billion years, to plot the story of how life evolved from single-celled organisms into the ferocious predators that stalked the seafloor. Putting on an Oculus Quest 2, users will have the opportunity to come face to face with bizarre creatures such as the five-eyed Opabinia, the fearsome-looking Anomalocaris, and the spiny worm-like Hallucigenia – scientifically accurate animations bring them vividly to life. First Life shows us how evolutionary features of the first creatures have passed to modern animals, including humans, giving us an amazing insight into the remarkable evolutionary journey that has brought us the animal kingdom we know today.

First Life was created out of the combined desire between Meta Quest and Alchemy Immersive, to push the boundaries of computer-generated immersive media production. One of its key goals was to inform studios and creators around the world how to further immerse mobile VR users in virtual worlds, without being subject to the limitations of real-time computation. By pre-rendering complex computer-generated immersive stories in stereoscopic 8K 60fps video, First Life presents a new milestone for beautiful natural history story-telling while also setting a new bar for quality in mobile VR headsets. In doing so, First Life showcases the potential and power of immersive storytelling by creating an experience impossible in any other format, outside of the constraints of real-time game-engine computation.

Submerge yourself into our plant’s breath-taking ancient oceans and discover the secrets to life with David Attenborough as your guide. Experience David Attenborough’s First Life from 23rd November on Quest headsets. Find out more at: alchemyimmersive/firstlife

David Attenborough’s First Life was co-produced by Alchemy Immersive and Meta Quest, in collaboration with Zoo VFX and 1.618 Digital.

David Attenborough – Naturalist and Narrator
“Since I was a boy, people have made discoveries in ancient rocks all over the world, including in Canada, Newfoundland, Australia and Morocco. And so now we can put together a picture in extraordinary detail of what life was like 500 million years ago. And the really thrilling thing for me is that by using computer graphic imaging, you can take these tiny little marks and with total justification and scientific backing, you can make that animal really come to life. So we can see them come out of the rock and move.

Elliot Graves – Director, Alchemy Immersive
“Producing David Attenborough’s First Life has shown the team and I here at Alchemy that we’ve reached a milestone for immersive story telling. Just like the Cambrian Ocean, we’ve entered a new era where realising and recreating stories beyond our imaginations is finally possible – and all in a way that finally matches our expectations of what VR can offer.”

Eric Cheng – Head of Immersive Media, Meta Quest
“First Life delivers on the promise of immersive media and virtual reality: to take you into worlds that are normally bound to our imaginations. The quality of story and visuals that Alchemy Immersive has been able to achieve have brought to life our ancient worlds in ways that we never expected, allowing oculus users an exclusive opportunity to go on an epic journey with David Attenborough millions of years into the past”

Anthony Geffen – CEO, Atlantic Productions Group
“It’s very exciting to follow one of the greatest journeys of this planet, life itself, with David Attenborough in a totally new kind of immersive experience.”


Charlie Hinshelwood – Special Projects Manager
Mail: [email protected] Phone: +44 (0) 20 8735 9300

About Alchemy Immersive
Alchemy Immersive is an award-winning immersive production studio. Their mission is to create compelling, immersive experiences like no one else through a combination of storytelling and technical innovation covering Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality, Projection Mapping, App Development and even AI. Their groundbreaking work was recognised with the first BAFTA awarded to a VR production for David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef and most recently a double EMMY Nomination for their groundbreaking immersive series Micro Monsters.

About Atlantic Productions
Founded in 1992, Atlantic is respected for its unparalleled access and world-class storytelling. They create outstanding cross-platform content across four dedicated companies, recognised by over 50 international awards, including multiple British Academy Awards and Emmy Awards for projects such as Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough and First Life.

About the author:

AIXR is an independent, community first, not for profit organisation that exists to support individuals and companies of all sizes as the International trade body for immersive technology industries. AIXR or, The Academy of International Extended Reality, hosts the VR Awards annually. AIXR’s mission is to support individuals and companies in the immersive industry by endorsing, inspiring, and enabling innovators through removing barriers to entry and connecting a diverse collection of trades together.