Fans of the Netflix’s dystopian series, Black Mirror, are in for a treat. The series standalone interactive film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is available for streaming today. The groundbreaking film allows its viewers to enter into film and embody the lead character.
As the protagonist, you can change the course of the story. Sounds gimmicky, complicated? It might be, but it's also pretty cool.
Netflix tries interactive content on adults
Netflix has done some other interactive content before, but previously this was exclusively for children. Bandersnatch is the first time they have tried an interactive film aimed at adults.
As you watch the film you are invited to make a series of choices, some big, some small, that ultimately change the direction of the story.
Netflix says choices will pop up about every 1.5 minutes and you can use your remote control, fingers, or console controller to enter your preference.
Writers learned to code to create the film's complex narrative
Netflix stated to Online News, the only Canadian news outlet to get a pre-screening of the dark film. “It was difficult all the way through,” said Black Mirror creator/writer Charlie Brooker about bringing Bandersnatch to life.
“To give you an idea, to write the treatment for this show, I had to learn a programming language. Normally you just describe the story, between two and 10 pages. And that only stepped one! That should’ve been the first distress flare.”
While the writing was a difficult process the whole film was shot in just 35 days. One story iteration of the film takes viewers about 90 minutes to watch. It has over 5 hours of footage available.
The film has five main endings, with variants across all of them. Of course, there are also Easter Eggs throughout the whole thing.
The film will be available in 35 languages and it is accessible across newer devices consoles, TVs, web browsers and Android and iOS devices running the latest version of the Netflix app.
Unfortunately, the interactive elements are not supported on Chromecast, Apple TV and some legacy devices.
If you are having trouble viewing the film Netflix provides messaging to help direct you to a supported device. Netflix says due to the number of choices available, there are more than a trillion unique permutations of Bandersnatch.
Netflix obsession with the 80s continues
The plot is set in the 1980s and revolves around the development of a new computer game. The main character is a young programmer with dreams of developing a text-based computer game inspired by a choose-your-own-adventure-style book he loved as a child.
The story quickly spins off into many layers all with Black Mirrors dystopian signature.
“When they first suggested to us the notion of doing an interactive story, we smiled and nodded,” said Brooker, laughing, recalling the moment Netflix pitched the idea to him and his executive producer, Annabel Jones.
“Then we left the room and said to each other, ‘There’s no f**king way we’re doing that.’ Later on, we were discussing options, and then we came up with the central conceit — you are controlling somebody who becomes aware that they’re being controlled — and went, ‘Oh, s**t!’ The only way we can do this is with interactive, which now means we have to do it.”
Bandersnatch is available to stream from the 28 December.