20th Century Fox announced it is producing a new movie where audiences will be able to control the outcome as they’re watching.
The film will be based on the classic Choose Your Own Adventure series of novels there published between 1978 and 1998, where readers were given options of how to proceed through the story at various points, flipping to the assigned pages based on their choices to see how it would play out. The series sparked the lineage of interactive media that includes everything from tabletop roleplaying games to contemporary video games like Fortnite and God of War, not to mention various other book series in the genre like Goosebumps or Fighting Fantasy.
While this method of storytelling clearly can work well for books, adapting it to film will take some work. That’s why Fox has enlisted the help of Kino Industries by licensing its CtrlMovie app. With this app, audiences will be able to vote for particular outcomes of different events throughout the movie, creating the potential for an entirely different story each time it’s experienced. You could imagine it being like a large, collectively played full-motion video game.
Though the film is pulling directly from the Choose Your Own Adventure series, no plot details have been shared, nor any casting news, so whether we’ll be exploring the depths of the ocean, the outer reach of space, or long-lost ruins in exotic locations remains to be seen. However, it is notable that the film is openly working with its source material. While this isn’t the first time audiences have been given agency over the outcome of what they’re watching (it’s even cropped up in NFL commercials), previous productions that have experimented with this style of interactive storytelling have made an effort to distance themselves from the genre.
It’s interesting to see interactivity and gamification coming to the traditionally linear medium of movies. Gamification has seeped into just about every aspect of life largely thanks to video games becoming more mainstream, but there’s some irony in the trend coming to film, especially since video games have been aping tropes and techniques from movies for decades. Now it seems movies want to be more like video games. It’s either poetic or the epitome of the snake eating its own tail. Either way, it will be interesting to see what kind of an effect audience agency will have on the medium should it catch on.
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