By April Miller
The metaverse is a strange, new concept that will manifest in the years to come. Founded by the company Meta, started by Mark Zuckerberg, it’s a new way of socializing and living through the virtual world. While many people have concerns and others are intrigued, there’s one undeniable fact: storytelling will change due to the metaverse.
What Is the Metaverse?
The metaverse is a take on the decentralized future of the internet. It strives to get its users fully involved, starting with media and then branching into all forms of life, such as work. In the future, the idea is that everything will be linked to the metaverse—where you’ll be able to find everything you want to access, from virtual workplaces to movies to watch with your whole family.
Media will find a welcome place in the metaverse due to its initial emphasis on entertainment. Providing plenty of books, films or games can introduce people to the virtual world of the metaverse and show them just why they should consider spending more time there.
Transmedia storytelling can help the stories popular in the real world transition to the virtual one. They will garner new and renewed interest by having interactive plots controlled to an extent by the users themselves.
Compelling Characters Are Important
Character creation allows people to insert themselves into the game. That’s why games with extensive character creation capabilities are so popular and why game development is such a booming career field—people want to see themselves in the game and experience the feeling of talking to their favorite characters themselves. Going forward, you should expect more games and other forms of media to feature more substantial character creation and direct interaction.
Fictional characters can impact people’s lives for the better. Getting to interact with those characters, whether playable or NPCs, outside the constraints of the media can help people feel happier and more motivated. Popular books might have their characters added to the metaverse, allowing readers to interact with them in a brand new way they couldn’t in a physical version of the book. As a whole, it might be healthier for people to appreciate fictional characters rather than parasocial relationships with figures like celebrities who will likely never recognize them.
Characters can be programmed with AI to understand and respond positively to someone. Hearing encouraging words from their favorite character can help them feel excited to move forward. Even if they may not say something in the media they’re from, transmedia storytelling can help predict what a character would say and prepare them for any situation. How interesting would it be to interview your favorite classical literature character?
Jumping Into New Worlds
The metaverse can also show its users new worlds that can help them enjoy every experience within it. Eventually, you may be able to take characters you’ve designed in certain worlds into other worlds as a sort of crossover.
“Kingdom Hearts,” a video game series that serves as a crossover between Disney and the “Final Fantasy” series, is immensely popular with people of all ages and calls upon the power of nostalgia to succeed. Crossovers remain popular for the incredible pull they have on people. Eventually, you may be able to take characters you’ve designed in one game into another game.
You may not see any defined end to many games, especially if you can take the player character into other worlds to complete quests entirely different from the original game. With the metaverse, gaming possibilities will be very open-ended.
Companies may find it easier than ever to make stories that keep people involved. “Choose your own adventure” books were popular years ago, and media with the same branching routes are popular today. You might expect more of this media to be popularized, as the metaverse can blend fiction and reality in a unique way that can teach its users new things and celebrate books, films and other media—both contemporary and classic.
“Bandersnatch,” an interactive film by the creators of Netflix’s “Black Mirror,” holds a replay value that keeps viewers coming back for each ending. This interactive film blurs the lines between movie and game, which viewers seem to appreciate. Interactive books may also find a revival thanks to the metaverse, which can allow people to jump between the pages of their favorite novel and really feel like the main character.
However, games will outdo movies and other televised media in the long run. Games can draw people back to them for the interactive aspect, especially if they have multiplayer options with limitless interactions. Games will thrive in the metaverse, but books and films also have a place. You may be able to jump right into a storyline and see it unfolding before your eyes, even if you aren’t a “character” in the media. It’s an up-close and personal view of the already-established events in more concrete things like novels and movies.
Known and Common Roadblocks
There are plenty of roadblocks in the way of the metaverse becoming a reality right now, simply because the technology used to implement it into real life hasn’t fully come to fruition yet. Also, companies that use the metaverse will have to keep in mind that certain people may use their characters to misbehave online, but that can happen anywhere.
There may also be legal issues regarding crossovers in certain game, movie, or book worlds, affecting how storytelling may play out. While games might be less structured and translate well to the metaverse, developers will have to find a way to keep even the driest media entertaining. This can be difficult with some books and films unless they’re directly interactive with an already-defined storyline. Still, the cutting-edge technology of the metaverse should be able to create compelling stories easily.
Moving Forward in the Metaverse
Storytelling will be more interactive in the metaverse thanks to interactive games and films in the real world. People will find that they are more immersed in the stories, thanks to the capabilities of Meta and its inclusion of all the senses. While the metaverse may be far off, for now, you can look forward to new advancements and developments in the future.
As well as being a senior writer at ReHack Magazine, April Miller is an avid follower of current publishing trends and technologies. You can find her work on sites such as KnowTechie, Open Data Science, and the Society of Women Engineers.