Netflix today announced the arrival of its first-ever interactive offering, giving viewers “control of how the stories unfold.”
Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale is a short story featuring Puss, a talking cat who is a fugitive from the law; the character first appeared in Shrek 2 and starred in his very own spin-off movie, Puss in Boots. Netflix’s interactive spin-off gives the viewers control over how the story progresses by handing them the power to make decisions for its characters over a dozen times during its twenty-three-minute run.
It’s an idea eerily similar to the growing genre of episodic games like Batman – The Telltale Series, Life is Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy, and others. Netflix says that the “intertwining of [its] engineers in Silicon Valley and the creative minds in Hollywood” has allowed it to “innovate new formats” and deliver them at scale to its millions of subscribers.
Netflix even plans to expand the library of its interactive content on July 14, offering Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile, which is an extension of its original Buddy Thunderstruck series. Further down the line in 2018, Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout will also make its debut.
What’s noteworthy is that these three titles are all aimed towards children – that’s on purpose; Netflix says that it conducted extensive research to determine whether its viewers would like these interactive adventures:
“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. They also talk to their screens, as though the characters can hear them. Now, that conversation can be two-way. It’s really about finding the right stories - and storytellers - that can tell these complex narratives and bring them to life in a compelling way.”
Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale is streaming globally starting from today, but the interactive options will only appear on iOS devices, supported smart TVs, game consoles, and Roku devices. The Apple TV, Android devices, Chromecast, or Netflix’s website do not currently support the interactive experience but can still stream the title – just in the traditional linear format.
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