Mere moments after the Ready Player One trailer dropped on us like a 1,985-ton bomb, Ernie Cline fans got the news they have been waiting more than six years to hear. In a Facebook Live event on Sunday, Cline confirmed that a Ready Player One sequel is officially being written, and millennials are here for it.
Set in the year 2044, Ready Player One centers on Wade Watts, a teenage boy growing up in poverty in the U.S., which has been devastated by global warming and energy crises. Like most kids, Wade gets his education by logging into the OASIS, a full virtual reality experience that has superseded the Internet.
Created by James Halliday, the OASIS allows for the creation of literally any world someone could want, including Middle-earth, Mid-World, planets from Star Wars, Star Trek, and Doctor Who, and even classic Dungeons & Dragons modules. People who log in create online handles — Wade becomes Parzival and interacts with his friends, Aech and Art3mis — and virtual avatars, which they can level up, just as if they were playing a video game. Without money to spend inside the OASIS, however, Wade/Parzival is stuck traveling to only a few, low-level areas.
That really sucks for Cline's protagonist, because he is a "gunter," or "egg hunter." You see, Halliday left a major Easter egg inside the OASIS, and whoever finds it will win his entire fortune. Wade/Parzival, Aech, and Art3mis, along with millions of others, have thrown their hats in the ring and begun hunting down Halliday's elusive clues. Because Halliday was obsessed with the 1980s, many gunters pour over everything that decade has to offer — from the mainstream Pac-Man and Back to the Future, to the more niche Zork and WarGames — convinced that the clues to Halliday's Easter egg are contained within.
Cline's second novel, Armada — which has been optioned for the big screen as well — also took a lot of inspiration from Eighties pop culture, particularly The Last Starfighter, but it was not directly related to Cline's debut. The Ready Player One sequel has been rumored to be in the works since at least early 2015, when screenwriter Zak Penn announced it in an interview. Without spoiling the ending of Cline's original novel, I can say that it will be interesting to see what direction the Ready Player One sequel will take. The end of the novel leaves the future of OASIS unclear, and many readers would love to learn what exactly happens after the curtain closes on Ready Player One.
The Ready Player One sequel does not have a publication date at the time of this writing. You can catch Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One film adaptation in theaters on Mar. 30, 2018.