It looks like Netflix has learned from the success of the innovative and smash hit choose your own adventure film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. According to a report from Variety Todd Yellin, Vice President of Product for Netflix, said in a keynote speech at a technology and media conference in India that the streaming service plans to continue developing interactive storytelling in both the near and far future.
“It’s a huge hit here in India, it’s a huge hit around the world, and we realize wow, interactive storytelling is something we want to be more on,” Yellin said. “We’re doubling down on that. So expect over the next year or two to see more interactive storytelling. And it won’t necessarily be science-fiction, or it won’t necessarily be dark. It could be a wacky comedy. It could be a romance, where the audience gets to choose should she go out with him.”
For those unfamiliar with the cultural phenomenon that is Bandersnatch, it’s a choose your own adventure psychological science-fiction thriller set in the wonderfully dark and twisted world of Black Mirror. As the viewer, you get to decide the course of the narrative and the character at multiple different points throughout the film. Choices can be as simple as deciding what cereal to eat in the morning, or as complex as to whether you should brutally murder someone. With it being Black Mirror a lot of the choices are pretty grim or just outright insane. Basically, Bandersnatch asks the viewer how exactly do they want to ruin the protagonists life.
As dark as it sounds, Bandersnatch can be a whole lot of fun, especially if you watch it with other people. It can become like a party experience where you and your friends decide together where to take the story. It’s like a video game, playing by yourself is good and all, but everything is better with friends. Unless said friend has the remote and just does whatever they want like a dictator, and no I’m not projecting.
Video games and books have done the choose your own adventure thing for ages now, and there have been some interactive movies and shows made before. But, with Bandersnatch, Netflix has made something that feels almost totally unique in how it handles its twists and turns. Just as importantly though, Bandersnatch is just a really good movie – because if it wasn’t then there wouldn’t really be much of a point to it. Nobody wants to engage in a narrative they don’t care about.
The potential of this sort of storytelling is endless, and if the quote from Yellin says anything it’s that they’ve realized that. What type of interactive stories would you like to see more of? Head on down to our official Twitter, Reddit, or Facebook group to let us know!