Netflix has released Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, and it is indeed an adult themed “Choose Your Own Adventure” story.
Netflix has already tried this out with some of their kid’s programming, but this is the first time they’ve made an interactive movie for adults, and it’s a bit more complex than what the kids have been playing with.
The movie is set in 1984 and tells a story of geeky teenager Stefan (Fionn Whitehead of Dunkirk), who “sets out to turn a multiple-choice science-fiction book by the same title into a pioneering computer game that also presents the player with a series of choices.”
According to Variety, “Netflix engineers built the company’s very own script-writing tool for branched narratives, dubbed Branch Manager.” They explain:
The tool allows creatives to build complex narratives that include loops, guiding viewers back to the main story when they strayed too far, giving them a chance of a do-over, if you will — something that Jones and Brooker artfully incorporated into the story. At one point, one of the key characters even tells Stefan that he chose the wrong path, leading him to realize: “I should try again!”
They go on to reveal that there are five possible endings for Bandersnatch and over a trillion unique permutations of the story! It’s explained that viewers “who choose the quickest path, and decide against any do-overs, can make it through the film in around 40 minutes. The average viewing time is around 90 minutes.”
I have yet to try this out for myself, but I’m looking forward to it! It sounds like a cool interactive movie experience! Seems like a fun and interesting way to keep audiences engaged with the story and like it will entice people to come back and try it again making different choices to see a different outcome of the story.