Tonight at the Intel CES press conference a new Ready Player One VR experience was announced in development by the Sansar team at Linden Lab in collaboration with Warner Bros. and Intel as a direct tie-in for the upcoming feature film. Earlier today at the HTC Vive press conference I got the chance to go hands-on with it for myself.
Fans of the original book by Ernest Cline will remember one of the most frequently visited locations was Aech’s virtual basement. In the book, Aech is Wade Watts’ (the main character) best friend and the basement is sort of like a digital manifestation of all of their most favorite pieces of pop culture history. Now instead of the basement, apparently the film gives Aech a massive warehouse-sized garage to store his gear instead.
When you consider there needs to be a digital storage place for things like the Battlestar Galactica ship and the Iron Giant (both of which I got to stand right next to, craning my neck upwards to see) the change makes sense. Although I wish there weren’t so many changes between the book and the film, I suppose that’s Hollywood for you.
Like most other Sansar environments this Ready Player One scene is a social space and you can walk around and check out the movie set just like you’re actually standing there. Jason Gholston, Director of Business Development at Sansar, explained that they worked directly with Warner Bros. to painstakingly recreated every detail of the set. In this way, this is almost like a behind-the-scenes look at the film.
In the movie each shot is going to be zoomed in on the characters and limit how much fo the whole set you can see, but in this VR environment you’re free to walk around and explore every inch at your own pace. In fact, Gholston told me that they were able to cram even more pop culture Easter eggs and references into the VR garage than there are in the film for the simple reason that players can see more of it than viewers can.
When pressed for more details, representatives from Intel and Vive both told us that more is coming in the way of Ready Player One content, so this isn’t everything that they’ve got planned. For a movie this massive with such direct tie-ins to modern VR, it feels like some absolutely massive marketing opportunities are getting left on the table if more direct film tie-in experiences aren’t released in the coming months.
Players can check out the full Ready Player One garage VR location in Sansar right now. Let us know what you think down in the comments below!