Tye Sheridan as Wade Watts in Ready Player One

‘Ready Player One’s Metaverse Plans Miss the Point of the Original Story

Futureverse, Warner Bros., and author Ernest Cline have officially signed a deal to bring the Ready Player One intellectual property into the Metaverse. Creating a digital world inspired by Ready Player One largely goes against the point of the original story, though.

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The idea of bringing the story to life in any way is a bit odd, considering it is set in a dystopian society. Unfortunately, it seems making dystopian worlds real is becoming a trend in the entertainment industry. Recently, Netflix stirred controversy after making Squid Game into a reality show, thus completely missing the point of the original show’s anti-capitalist themes. Now, the declining, pollution-stricken world in Ready Player One is the latest to be brought into the real world. One would think these creators could make something like a real-world Shire, Hogwarts, or Camp Half-Blood. However, apparently, it’s much more appealing to bring nightmare, worst-case-scenario alternate realities to life instead.

Ready Player One was first published in 2011 by Cline before becoming a movie in 2018. The story follows Wade Watts, a teenager living in a futuristic, grim reality where the world has been ravaged by pollution, global warming, and economic decline. To escape reality, individuals often spend their time in the OASIS virtual reality. Watts is especially interested in VR as he seeks to find an Easter egg that will win him ownership of the game and the corporation behind it. The deeper he gets into the game, though, the more he realizes he can’t actually escape the real world.

Making a real-life Ready Player One is an interesting choice

Tye Sheridan as Wade Watts playing VR in Ready Player One
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Ready Player One is officially coming to the Metaverse. The Metaverse doesn’t yet exist (and some doubt it will ever exist), but it is a hypothetical virtual world that players access through VR. Now, the Metaverse company, Futureverse, has signed a deal with Cline and Ready Player One producer Dan Farah to make a digital universe inspired by the book. These three players have banded together to create a new company, Readyverse, to create the digital world. Warner Bros. Discovery owns Ready Player One‘s IP due to producing the movie, but quickly got on board with the Metaverse plans.

Farah also told THR that there are already other conversations happening to bring more IP to the Metaverse. Meanwhile, Cline and Futurverse co-founder Shara Senderoff acknowledged the book’s dystopian world but assured fans that this VR take will be much more optimistic. Cline said they’ll work “to bring to life the best possible version of the Metaverse.”

This Readyverse is still a long way away, but the announcement raises some concerns about VR. After all, the main message of the book and movie is that VR can’t replace real life. In fact, society’s decision to hide from a grim reality in VR only further exacerbated the world’s problems. By the end of the story, the players recognize the importance of staying connected to the real world and prioritizing real-life relationships. Now, this story’s creator is turning the very world he created to warn others about VR into an actual VR experience. The Metaverse as a whole threatens to create a reality precisely like the one Ready Player One warned about.

Multiple global companies, such as Meta and Microsoft, have already invested billions in the Metaverse and show no sign of scaling back. Meanwhile, Meta underwent mass layoffs partly due to Mark Zuckerberg’s reckless spending on the Metaverse. It’s still far from being a reality, yet there’s evidence that some of these companies already prioritize VR above the real world and real employees. How much worse will this phenomenon be when, or if, the Metaverse is finally here? Ready Player One is indeed just a story, and the fact that Cline himself is behind this makes it hard to criticize. Still, one can’t help but feel nervous when we start turning our backs on the very things we once thought were so important to warn others about.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.