Interactive Specials: The Future of Entertainment
May 13, 2020
Make a decision: get married or rescue the girls held hostage in a bunker.
This is one of the many choices you have to make while playing Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs The Reverend. The witty Netflix comedy show returned for an interactive special starring Ellie Kemper as the lead who is faced with multiple dilemmas as she hopes to make it to her own wedding after putting an end to the Reverend’s evil plot.
Interactive specials have been persistent throughout Netflix’s wide range of TV shows and movies. Netflix has developed interactive specials for all ages from Captain Underpants to Black Mirror. In 2018, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch captivated audiences as it forced viewers to make twisted decisions that led to drug abuse and even murder. This is where the concept initially blew up and became a new form of entertainment for Netlflix to advertise.
Netflix has stated “Interactive content is a fun new way to experience Netflix. In each interactive title, you can make choices for the characters, shaping the story as you go! Each choice leads to a different adventure, so you can watch again and again, and see a new story each time.”
The choose-your-own-adventure structure is designed to make viewers come back and play again expecting them to make different decisions in order to unlock the other endings. It mimics the format of role-playing video games such as The Witcher and Assassin’s Creed. Both put the player in full control of the narrative allowing them to make choices left and right with the fate of the characters in their hands. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch has over five endings with variants of each on the side with the episode ultimately lasting from 40 to 90 minutes.
As interactive entertainment is still in its early age, it’s easy to imagine where it will lead the future of Hollywood. The likelihood of some interactive films being released theatrically is definitely low as absurd as it sounds. Imagine an entire auditorium of people having to come to a consensus on the decisions displayed on screen. It may be implausible but pretty soon you could be in complete control of the next Marvel movie.