Attendees at Austin’s SXSW multimedia festival were greeted by events perhaps more familiar to cosplayers at San Diego Comic-Con. Two live-in experiences for upcoming projects, Westworld’s second season and Steven Spielberg’s nostalgia-fueled adaptation Ready Player One, wooed festgoers with cowboy hats, neon, and bar fights.
The big takeaway here, besides the huge marketing push both these properties are receiving before their premieres (March 29 for Ready Player One and April 22 for Westworld), is that a lone samurai wandered the SXSWestworld. This sad ronin is a plot hint for Season, after fans got a glimpse of Shogun World in the Season 1 finale, suggesting that the barriers between worlds may not be as impermeable as its creator company Delos would like to believe. One stage of the company’s breakdown and the hosts’ rebellion could be a genre crossover between the Old West and the Old East.
Our correspondent on the futuristic ground at SXSWestword, Kristy Puchko, posted some thoughts on Twitter — along with many other attendees:
In addition to this replication of a replication, there was also the Ready Player One VR rave. Replete with nods to the various pop culture artifacts the film will trade in, there were plenty of trippy futuristic rooms courtesy of Oscar-winning production designer Adam Stockhausen.
There was also a VR DJ performance from the film's star Tye Sheridan. With a film that’s based on a book almost entirely composed of Easter eggs and references, there wasn’t much surprise when other existing properties reared their head — but it’s just another sign that festival marketing is only getting bigger and more immersive.
We'll have more detailed on-the-ground wrap-ups diving into the experiences (and other SXSW fun) coming your way soon — so stay tuned!
SXSW runs through March 13.