The metaverse isn’t just an opportunity for a new kind of social world. It can give players a chance to create stories over multiple different media worlds.
Jeff Gomez, CEO of Starlight Runner Media, talked with moderator Neon Media CEO Mark Long during the “The Metaverse and Transmedia Narratives: Rising Oppurtunities” panel during our Into the Metaverse event. In it, they talked about how transmedia narratives will impact the world of the metaverse.
Gomez defines transmedia as a stepping stone toward the metaverse. He calls it “symphonic narrative.” It is a story told across multiple media platforms. We used to see movies get licensed cartoons and video games that wouldn’t have much to do with the actual film. Then Japan started pioneering multimedia stories that tied more closely together, and you soon also saw properties like Marvel take advantage of multiple media platforms to tell its stories.
“A metaverse implies that you can take the characters that you’ve been cultivating in one gamine platform and either go into an entire different realm, sometimes that’s within the same gaming platform, or actually leave that gaming platform and enter into an entirely different one,” Gomez explains. “So you can theoretically take your Roblox characters and get them into an app and play in an app game.
“You can unleash a little chaos.”
Gomez uses Dungeons & Dragons as a metaphor. Sometimes players would want to take their characters from one campaign into another, even if they technically exist in different worlds. Transmedia technique can do the same thing for multimedia.
Characters meeting across worlds
Character creation in MMOs like Everquest and World of Warcraft was an important step. Players can create a character that they can stick with for decades. Since these creations exist online, they aren’t tied to a person’s computer or gaming machine(though in this example, they’re tied to accounts). Roblox is another important example, as it is giant online world with a focus on play and social interaction.
But these examples are still restricted to their own infrastructures. You can’t take your World of Warcraft character inside Roblox. But Gomez says that there is a possibility to use blockchain technology for games to be more open to transmedia possibilities.
If the idea of these media companies allowing characters to exist across stories seems unlikely, Gomez would remind that we’ve been seeing walls go down for decades. He recalls how many were shocked when they say Disney and Warner Bros. characters existing together in the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He also brought up the Kingdom Hearts game franchise, which brings Final Fantasy and Disney characters together, along with other films like Wreck-It Ralph and Ready Player One.
“There are legal models already for the transmedia trans-platform combination of characters,” Gomez said. He notes that we’re going to need some clever attorneys to make it happen, but it is possible.
Long noted that metaverse experiences with their open structures and incredible player freedom can often lead to bad behavior. He asked Gomez how that problem can be solved. While he admitted the possibility for chaos, platforms like Roblox have used smart moderating and other tools keep its world from spiraling into depravity.
Talking about video games, Gomez notes that most titles are still relatively linear experiences with defined beginnings, middles, and ends. He believes that the metaverse could allow for multidimensional epics where characters can travel to different realms.
It will be an ambitious era of player-driven storytelling, and the metaverse just may make it happen.