Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One was an instant hit when it was released in 2011, hitting the illustrious New York Times bestseller list – and leading to Warner Brothers inking a deal for the movie rights the day it was released. But as anyone who is in the movie industry knows, it takes a while for a project to get off the ground.
Four years later, it looks like the project is greenlit and ready to go with Steven Spielberg set to direct. Doing some digging with our contacts in Hollywood, we have discovered that Ready Player One will roll out with a VR tie-in piece and will feature “heavy VR elements.” For fans of the book this is welcomed – if not expected, news.
Dreamworks Animation, a division of Dreamworks SDK which Spielberg helped found, has been heavily vested in the virtual reality world over the last year. They were one of the originally announced partners for the Samsung Gear VR, and have continued their push into the new medium with a number of movie tie in experiences, like the recently released Jurassic World experience which is available to try at Best Buy or on the MilkVR store. Dreamworks also recently released an app for the Gear VR. Speaking with our contact, who wishes to remain anonymous, he is “pretty sure every movie coming out of DreamWorks will have a tie in VR element from now until forever.” He also noted that Spielberg is “really into VR.”
But those wishing for a full virtual reality version of Ready Player One may be disappointed. According to someone else close to the film’s production it doesn’t seem like the studio will pursue a fully virtual reality version of the film, but stopped short of completely ruling it out. It seems unlikely at this stage in virtual reality’s life that a big budget Hollywood feature would have a full VR version – but if the growth of the market accelerates even faster than many have predicted, it could force the hands of the producers. That scenario seems unlikely – but isn’t outside the realm of possibility.
Ready Player One, set in 2044, centers around a future where people spend most of their days in a virtual universe called Oasis. The main character, Wade Watts, dreams of one day finding the “ultimate lottery ticket” hidden by James Halliday, Oasis’ creator, within the game. Hidden behind a series of puzzles the secret would yield a massive fortune and control of Oasis to its finder. Everything changes for our main character when he stumbles across the first puzzle and is suddenly thrust into a mad race for the ultimate prize – with people willing to murder him along the way to get there.
The film currently is in development with no schedule set for shooting, so it may be a while before we see this come into being – but it is safe to say, when it does we will see some VR with it.