Two Years Ago Bandersnatch Changed the Interactive Storytelling Game.
Updated: Dec 30, 2020
Two years ago exactly, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch came out. Some loved it and some hated it but one thing is for sure, it helped the world to discover interactive films.
Black Mirror is a dystopian TV show with different stories in each episodes exploring the maby ways in which our society could go wrong. In its christmas special of 2018, instead of bringing us in the future, the TV show brought us back to the 80s to follow Stefan, a video game developer struggling to create his video game. This hard task and other elements of his past slowly make him go mad.
Netflix through their interactove storytelling software called Branch Manager had already released interactive content such as Puss in Book, an interactive story following the cute and brave cat from Shrek.This story was fun but quite simple in its narrative structures, it consisted of two main paths. Bandernstach on the contrary offered 9 endings and many unique paths viewers could explore. Here is the entire narrative structure of this work.
The writer, Charlie Brooker used Twine a famous story to write interactive fiction and interactive films to write his outline. In Post production, Netflix's Branch Manager was released
A story-map created using the technology, for example, was translated into a computer-readable spreadsheet that Netflix’s engineers used to implement the film. “Additionally, you can embed the script into each node of the flow chart and eventually, cuts of video as well. It enables us all to be able to look at the same thing and even as early as the outline, experience what it was going to feel like” says Engelbrecht. Check out the featurette below to learn more about how the film was produced.
Once the film was done, it was launched globally the same day on more than a thousand devices (smart devices, game controls, ios, ipads, iphone, androids computers, everything!) in 28 different languages. This si a feat that had never been done before for interactive films, not even fmv games!
So yes all this is impressive but did Bandersnatch actually change something in the interactive field? Yes it definetly created a trend as proven with the releases of Erica, The Complex, and Ordesa. The question now is will this trend pass or will it grow ?