Variety

Netflix's Bandersnatch: You decide how the movie should end

Siddharth Mathew Cherian | Updated on January 07, 2019 Published on January 07, 2019

A screenshot for the trailer of Netflix's 'Black Mirror: Bandersnatch' 

The company gives interactive storytelling a new spin with the Bandersnatch

In the day and age of technology being as invasive as your own smartphone, a new form of digital entertainment is taking the world by storm and Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is the focal point of this recent change.

While interactive click-based interactions have been part of several New York Times interactives and video games with non-linear endings for over a decade, Netflix's movie brings it to the OTT medium. 

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, an interactive film from the Black Mirror TV series, which goes into its fifth season in 2019, explores a twisted, high-tech world where humanity's greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide, says the series page on IMDB.

 

The film, which was released on December 28, is set in the year 1984 and follows programmer Stefan Butler, who is keen on developing a choose-your-own-adventure computer game based on a novel Bandersnatch. His dream comes true when he is hired by a technology company. The events that flow after this form the non-linear narrative.

Technology

Bandersnatch has used Twine, an open-source tool for telling interactive, non-linear storytelling using cards or drawing on many linear/non-linear paths.

Later, as the script gets more complex, Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker employs Netflix's in-house tool called Branch Manager that was earlier used for the company's programmes for children.

Bandersnatch offers different outcomes and one can replay the interactive film over and over to check out the alternative possibilities that the film can take.

Compatibility issues

For those on devices not compatible with web interactive, the show will take default choices based on linear path trees designed by the programming/your usage patterns of Netflix and play out as a 90-minute episode.

The lack of support for legacy devices has miffed users. An email from Netflix confirms that Bandersnatch is not supported on Chromecast, Apple TV, and “some legacy devices”. Outdated hardware devices that don’t support Netflix software updates — like the PlayStation Vita or Nintendo Wii U — are also unlikely to support Bandersnatch, as reported by the Verge.

Published on January 07, 2019
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