On June 21, Netflix released its newest experiment, the so-called branching narrative episodes which come as a first attempt at interactive storytelling. The first standalone animated episode is named “Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale”. This will be followed by a new episode in a months time.
In the style of interactive storytelling, users will be able to choose the way the story goes as they will be asked to take decisions for their characters. This will have an effect on both the story line and the duration of the show.
Branching Narrative Episodes Let Users Chose The Plot
According to estimates, this first episode of the new experiment can last anywhere in between 18 to 39 minutes. Prompts for a decision will come, on estimate, every 2 up to 4 minutes. Users, especially the younger audience, will be asked to choose the desired path some dozens of times across an episode.
In “Puss in Boots” they can choose, for example, to become friends with bears, or see them as foes. They can also decide on kissing a queen or going for a simple handshake.
“The children’s programming space was a natural place for us to start since kids are eager to ‘play’ with their favorite characters and already inclined to tap, touch and swipe at screens,” states Carla Engelbrecht Fisher.
She is the Netflix Director of Innovation. Engelbrecht Fisher then continued by pointing out that children already ‘talk’ to the screen. But from now on, this will “answer” them, as the conservation will go “two-ways”.
The multiple choice variants is also a good reason for rewatching the story. Each new decision will take the little viewers on a new path, so many adventures lie ahead in the same experiment.
At least for now, the interactive episode will only work on smart TVs, game consoles, streaming media players, and iOS devices. Presently, the interactive gameplay will not be available on the Netflix website, on Android-powered devices, Apple TV, or Chromecast. On them, the episode will have a linear, 23-minutes long play.
For the moment, only two other branching narrative episodes have been announced. They are “Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile” which should be out on July 14. Also, “Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout”, set to become available next year.
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