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Ready Player One Plot Details Revealed

In the virtual world of Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One, anyone can be anything they want. But most people want to be totally '80s.

Entertainment Weekly has an extensive look at the upcoming sci-fi flick based on the 2011 novel by Ernest Cline, and it offers up a deep dive into what's going on in dystopian, virtual reality-obsessed future.

The movie is set in 2045 and 70 percent of the world's population live their lives entirely online in a digital world called the OASIS. But that's left the real world in a state of poverty, neglect, and disrepair. 

"There are so many more compelling reasons to escape into the OASIS than exist in real life," Spielberg said. "A lot of our movie is a comparative study: Which world would they rather spend their lives in—with all the distractions and complexities and perks of the digital world of the OASIS, or with the responsibilities of being a student or a parent living in real life? It's real life versus virtual life. Which is more compelling?"

Lots of people live in Stacks, which are slums made out of stacked trailers. There's no need to worry about what your actual home looks like when your virtual home can be a castle. "People are only returning to the real world to eat a sandwich and to go to the bathroom," Spielberg said. There isn't even really a need to shower. "Nobody can smell you in the virtual world. If you stay there long enough you won't offend anyone!"

In the OASIS, many users embrace '80s nostalgia with their avatars. We saw that in the first trailer, which is brimming with references to Back to the Future, The A-Team, and A Nightmare on Elm Street.

But there are suddenly real-world stakes in play. The creator of the OASIS, a generous entrepreneur named James Halliday (Mark Rylance), has died. But his digital ghost is revealing clues to a final game with a very real prize: whoever solves the series of pop-culture quests will win the OASIS and its parent company Gregarious Games. If the VR world is taken over by the corporate IOI organization, OASIS will be locked behind a paywall forever.

Young gamer Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) is a top contender to solve Halliday's riddles, but IOI head Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) would rather take him out of the running in actuality instead of virtuality. "They do come after you, and that's when our case spills over into the real world," Spielberg said. "Our major characters, they are in mortal jeopardy."

Ready Player One, which co-stars Olivia Cooke, Simon Pegg, and T.J. Miller, arrives in theaters March 30, 2018. Check out some photos below.