Any time that Steven Spielberg’s name is linked to a new movie project, it’s a very big deal.
And with good reason: to say that Spielberg’s status in the film industry is legendary would be a huge understatement.
His latest offering – a big-screen adaptation of Ernest Cline’s New York Times bestselling book Ready Player One – has really got people excited. And just weeks before it hits cinemas, fans have had a chance to “immerse themselves in vivid glimpses into hero Wade Watt’s world” through a new virtual reality experience using VIVE VR.
Launched at South By Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW) – always a hot platform for the very latest pop culture, film and music news – the Ready Player One VR experience brings to life the dystopian future of 2045 that is so powerfully depicted in Cline’s hugely popular 2011 novel.
HTC, in close conjunction with Warner Bros studios, has dominated this year’s SXSW with a massive installation to introduce the VR experience, which mimics the ‘OASIS’ – a virtual world inhabited by the nation’s youth, known as “the missing millions”. Set against a backdrop of poverty and decay, it’s a disconcerting and sobering vision of the future but one that lends itself perfectly to VR, a technology that is tailormade to bring impossible or previously unimaginable worlds to life in vivid colour.
“You can’t launch a movie like Ready Player One without giving fans a chance to step into the world of the OASIS,” the film’s producer, Donald DeLine, told Forbes. “For the film, we created 8 unique VR experiences ranging from an IOI shooter game on Planet Doom to re-imagined VR versions of classic 80s arcade games like Gauntlet and Brick Breaker. Even Steven Spielberg got into the VR games, battling the IOI and making it to the final level of Planet Doom on his first try.”
The VR experience has thrilled fans with a series of action games based on scenes from the movies, including Battle for the OASIS and Rise of the Gunters. But the aspect that has really gained plaudits has been the Distracted Globe Music Experience from TheWaveVR, a virtual dance floor in which bespoke created avatars can dance to 80s music and visuals within 2045’s hottest nightclub, the ‘RPO OASIS club’, dancing and flying around in a world of zero gravity.
Unquestionably, it’s a bold, big and brave investment in VR from the studio, and one that is bound to add to the intrigue and excitement for what’s set to be one of this year’s biggest cinematic releases.
And it shows, yet again, just how powerful VR can be in taking branded movie experiences to a whole new level. From the Ghostbusters’ memorable and slime-tastic VR showcase at Madame Tussaud’s to Disney Pixar’s dazzling COCO experience, we’re still just at the start of a long and incredible journey for this ever-evolving and hugely-powerful technology.
Are you ready for what’s next?