Joe Hunting has made VR-based film something of his specialty, having previously directed several shorts in this vein. For this project, he spent a year embedded with various VRChat-based subcultures, actively collaborating with them and eventually filming their activities amidst interviews with them.
Many of the subjects in We Met in Virtual Reality discuss how they’re fans of the platform because of the safety it affords — whether it’s to express their gender freely, embark on risk-free sex work, or simply hobnob without the risk of catching COVID. And that’s to say nothing of how games like this can facilitate connections between people in vastly disparate parts of the world who would otherwise likely never find one another.
We Met in Virtual Reality expresses a vision of the metaverse that’s far more optimistic than much of what we see in nonfiction, almost to a fault. There’s not much discussion of the negative aspects of VRChat or abusive behavior from users. Anything critical is mostly here by implication. But after all, Meta’s unserious, unappetizing conception of virtual worlds could cause us to forget all the genuine potential here.