This paper considers the role of virtual reality (VR) experiences in major media franchises’ storyworlds, including Star Wars, the Marvel Universe, the DC Extended Universe, Game of Thrones, and Harry Potter. The paper opens with a brief description of transmedia storyworlds and the concept of narrative extensions, which are new stories that are added to existing narratives across a range of media. To distinguish different types of experiences, I use four categories to describe fifteen VR experiences across these five major: sneak peeks, short demos, action games, and narrative extensions. For each experience, I consider the types of user interactions offered, the overall length and replay value of these experiences, cost at launch, and the overall success or failure of these experiences based on critics’ and fans’ comments and reviews. While the strategy of incorporating VR experiences into existing media franchise storyworlds is still very much in its infancy, there are identifiable trends in what kinds of experiences fans most appreciate, and what experiences generally fall flat or underwhelm fans. I conclude with some encouraging prospects for the future for sophisticated VR storytelling.
"Transmedia Storytelling, Immersive Storyworlds, and Virtual Reality,"
Frameless: Vol. 2
, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholarworks.rit.edu/frameless/vol2/iss1/5