Choose your own adventure stories are stressful. Agency is a powerful apparatus—it can delight you being in control and also dismay you when, because of your choices, everything goes to shit. Just ask any child who read those Goosebumps choose-your-own-adventure books.
But according to a report from The Daily Mail—and thus should be taken with a grain of salt—Netflix may soon be experimenting with a format. You may soon be choosing whether an “Orange Is The New Black [character] joins a gang or not” or “the technology could also potentially be used to allow Princess Margaret to marry Peter Townsend in The Crown.”
The story paths selected won’t necessarily be all as simple as that either. Apparently there’s a possibility for some serious complexity, including the ability to create a narrative that folds in on itself, creating an infinite loop of sorts.
A source said: ‘We’re doing work on branch narratives so you are actually making choices as you watch. All the content will be there, and then people will have to get through it in different ways.
‘We’ll see how it plays out. It’s an experiment. We’ll see if it gets much success. For creators, it’s new territory.’
This would mean cast and crew having to film these various alternating scenes in advance, and who knows how much that could cost. Whether this technology could alter existing series or strictly new IP remains to be seen. The plan, according to The Daily Mail’s source, is to begin experimenting with a children’s series and, if successful, branch into adult dramas.
Though Netflix hasn’t made an officials statement on the matter, Netflix president Reed Hastings confirmed they are producing something they’re calling interactive shows. “Once you have got interactivity you can try anything,” Hastings told The Daily Mail.
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