The goblin turns around and enters the tunnel. If you decide to follow him, turn to page 5. If you prefer to take the mountain path, turn to page 12. Perhaps this formula does not say much to those born after the turn of the millennium, but for the older ones it is a classic in every rule. The series of children's and youth books Choose your own adventure it was an unprecedented success in the 80s and 90s and Netflix has proposed to recycle this dynamic in one of its flagships: Black Mirror.
The series that warns about the dangers of the future fools with what could become the audiovisual format of the future: that in which each user can make decisions that determine the paths through which the plot will unfold. The production company intends to launch its fifth season before the end of the year, which will include one of these chapters. The episode promises to be the first of several such experiments on the platform, which has closed at least one more project and negotiates the rights of several videogames to produce interactive film adaptations in the same line.
The Netflix revolution was to change the way the public consumes audiovisual content, with a subscription model in a sector that did not quite understand how digital transformation could affect it. Blockbuster had the opportunity to buy the company for 50 million dollars, but did not believe in its model. Today, eight years have passed since Blockbuster declared bankruptcy and the red giant is worth more than 800 times this amount. Breaking with the pre-set schemes is an important part of their essence and they could not stay here. Once they have broken with the how, they want to question what.
The entry of Netflix in this form of personalization of content through user interaction is one of the most ambitious bets that have been made in this line. Although the company has already explored the format in the children's series The cat with boots -Based on the popular character of the Dreamworks movie Shrek-And plans to repeat it in another fiction based on the video game Minecraft, the incursion into adult entertainment brings a different dimension.
The closest precedent is Mosaic, a series released at the beginning of this year produced by HBO and directed by Steven Soderbergh, known for titles such as Ocean's Eleven or Erin Brockovich. In each chapter of Mosaic, viewers can choose a character from the series through a mobile application to focus on their story. The fiction, which tells the investigation of the murder of an author of children's books, passed without penalty or criticism.
The large producers have not been precisely pioneers in the exploration of this format. Some projects began to explore the possibilities of interactivity on the big screen some years ago thanks to the technological support of companies like CtrlMovie, a company that offers filmmakers the possibility of telling multidirectional stories, which they define on their website as an experience collaborative with the audience. Fox recently announced that he will use CtrlMovie's technology to play the saga of Choose your own adventure. The American chain bought the rights to these books five years ago and it seems that it will soon take advantage of them.